Investiture of Judge Kelly Higashi
Judge Kelly Higashi’s investiture took place in the Moultrie Courthouse atrium at 3:30pm on Friday, October 26. Chief Judge Morin greeted the crowd, including dignitaries present and the judges family and friends. He mentioned how pleased he was to welcome a new judge to the court, and gave an overview of the judge's bio (see below), including her serving as a law clerk for Judge Weisberg.
Former US Attorney Channing Phillips then took the podium and shared fond memories of his time with Judge Higashi when both served as Assistant US Attorneys, having started on the same day 24 years ago! He spoke not just of her integrity, intellect and dedication, but her caring nature with colleagues and friends. He also shared with the audience the experience the judge's parents had during World War II: her mother and her family were imprisoned in two different internment camps in Arkansas, her father and his family were displaced, but allowed to stay with friends and work on a beet farm in Utah. Both parents' families lost their houses, businesses, and cars. Her mother's family went to California after the war and did farmwork, her father eventually got a job as a cook, but he never owned a home again. Channing spoke of how proud the judge's parents must be after such challenging experiences in their youth, to have their daughter become a presidentially-appointed judge.
Next the judge's best friend from childhood, Tiffany Bluemle, took the podium and shared many fond memories, including when the judge, then in high school, announced boldly "I am going to be a judge." She presented the judge with a collar for her judicial robe, with an Osh Kosh B'Gosh label and a small square of fabric from their matching overalls from grade school hidden on the underneath side.
After the judicial commission was read by Acting Clerk of Court Zabrina Dempson, Judge Weisberg came to the podium to swear-in his former law clerk. He first spoke of her having been a close friend of his for 25 years and said that not much would give him more happiness than to swear her in to the Superior Court bench. The judge then took the oath of office as her partner John Marsh held the US Constitution. Her stepchildren and nephew then helped robe her, and Judge Pittman escorted her to her seat amongst the judges of the Superior Court.