Judge Robert M. Takasugi Receives UCLA Public Service Award
Los Angeles, CA Federal Judge Robert M. Takasugi of the Central District of California was recently awarded the UCLA Alumni Associations 2007 Public Service Award in a ceremony held on the Westwood, California campus. The award recognized his over thirty-year commitment and service to the courts.
At the time of his appointment by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976, Judge Takasugi was the first Japanese American appointed to the federal bench. As both a district court judge and an invitee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Takasugi's work in the courtroom has consistently been marked by a high degree of integrity and a commitment to equal access to justice. But perhaps Judge Takasugi's greatest contributions have occurred outside the courthouse, in his role as teacher, mentor and role model to thousands of law students and attorneys, and in his creation of a pro bono bar review course for public interest and minority law students.
In accepting the award, Judge Takasugi spoke of his concern with the current administrations unrestricted violations of constitutional rights and due process similar to those that were violated during his youth while he grew up interned as a Japanese American:
"I was a consequence of history. In 1942, as an eleven-year old child born in Tacoma, Washington, I became a prisoner-of-war imprisoned in an American-style concentration camp by the country of my birth. I vividly recall the military guard towers manned by armed soldiers surrounding the perimeter of the high-fenced walls which separated us from the free world. There were no formal charges, no right to face and confront the accusers, nor a right to a trial or hearing. Imprisonment was based on the accident of ancestry.
From this unfortunate history, a lesson should have been learned that under our Constitution, a truly free government must dedicate its powers to and for the people, and that our representatives must adopt this commitment with integrity as a non-delegable duty and responsibility.
In my view, the government failed in 1942 and during the years of our current turmoil. Our representatives must not function in clandestine war-creating deception nor should non-participatory representatives fail to explore the legitimacy of the actions taken by those others.
As it was in 1942, the issue today is one of leadership to uphold ordered liberty mandated in our Constitution to recognize their highest moral duty to serve the people, the true beneficiaries of a free society.
I believe that our greatest strength is an informed populace; our most vulnerable, one of indifference and apathy. I accept todays recognition, not for my past efforts, but as an inspiration to promote a nation of ordered liberty and a government of honesty and devotion to its people."
The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (www.aaba-bay.com) was founded in 1976 in order to provide attorneys with a vehicle to take unified positions on important issues, to promote professional development, and to foster the exchange of information among our membership and the community at large.