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McKenna nomination sails through Judiciary Committee

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:35 p.m. HST, Feb 4, 2011


Hawaii Supreme Court nominee Sabrina Shizue McKenna sailed through her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, winning approval by 5-0 vote.

McKenna, a longtime state judge and former University of Hawaii basketball player, became emotional as the vote was finalized and she received a round of applause form the packed committee hearing room.

"I will do my very best to fulfill the trust and confidence you have placed in me," McKenna said in thanking the committee members. 

McKenna, 53, is a senior judge of Oahu's Family Court at the Kapolei courthouse and a state judge in district and circuit court for 17 years.

"Her qualifications speak for themselves and personally, I couldn't be happier and prouder," said Sen. Clayton Hee, committee chairman.

McKenna's nomination -- the first judicial appointment by Gov. Neil Abercrombie -- now goes to the Senate floor for a vote by the full chamber expected next week.

Hee, the committee chairman, opened the hearing noting that McKenna's nomination had received 101 pieces of testimony, with only five in opposition.

Four of those were opposed to McKenna because she is openly gay, a fifth was opposed because he had lost a case tried before her, Hee said. 

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