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OSU graduate nominated to Hawaii Supreme Court

Judge Lisa Ginoza. Contributed by Judge Ginoza.

Judge Lisa Ginoza, a graduate of Oregon State University’s class of ‘86, was nominated for a seat on the Hawaii Supreme Court last month. 

The Hawaii State Senate will hold a special session to consider Ginoza’s appointment on Nov. 17, and a floor vote where Ginoza’s appointment will be decided on Nov. 21.

Judge Ginoza requires a senate majority of 13 votes in order to be confirmed to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Currently, there are two vacancies on the supreme court, which is a rare occasion, according to Judge Ginoza, one of the two individuals Hawaii Governor Josh Green has nominated.

As an out of state student from Hawaii, Judge Ginoza attended Oregon State University from 1983 to 1986 through the student exchange program. Judge Ginoza played softball for OSU under Coach Ellen Margolis for all three years and became team captain her senior year. 

Judge Ginoza credited her time in sports as giving her a foundation for success as an adult.

“I always think of the word ‘tenacity’,” Judge Ginoza said. “I think having that tenacity, but also the sportsmanship part of it are all great characteristics and things that you can learn playing sports.”

Judge Ginoza cited Patsy Mink, a Hawaiian member of the House of Representatives who was instrumental in Title IX’s passage as being a key source of inspiration for not only her career, but also for the tremendous impact that Title IX had on eliminating gender-based discrimination during her time as a student athlete. 

“A lot of folks just a handful of years older than me never had that chance,” Judge Ginoza said. “So I think it’s an important thing for the younger generation to know about or remember about, because it’s kind of taken for granted now, perhaps.”

Judge Ginoza also credited a philosophy class with Professor Kathleen Moore as having reinforced her decision to pursue law, citing the parallel dynamics of philosophy and law, and the tremendous impact that teachers can have on the trajectory of students. Specifically, Ginoza said after-class conversations with Professor Moore left a lasting positive impact on her.

“That’s the thing about teachers’ they never know when they’re going to have such a huge impact on students’ lives,” Judge Ginoza said. “Good and bad, the things that they say to students along the way can matter so much.”

Additionally, Judge Ginoza mentioned her time at Hui O Hawaii, OSU’s Hawaiian club, and how the existing Hawaiian student population “made it even more comfortable (to be on campus) than it already was.” 

When asked if there was any advice she would give to her younger self, Judge Ginoza said that although she keeps in contact with some of her former teammates and coaches, she wishes she could have stayed in contact with all of them.

“All of them were part of the experience,” Judge Ginoza said. “And I just really appreciated the opportunity to be up there and spend time with them.”

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