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Governor makes names of court nominees public

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 04:22 p.m. HST, Nov 26, 2011

Following a court order prompted by a Honolulu Star-Advertiser lawsuit, Gov. Neil Abercrombie released the names of nominees to the Hawaii Supreme Court and two Circuit Court judgeships.

Attorney General David Louie said the governor still disagrees with the court decision.

However, the Judicial Selection Commission, which screens and forwards the names of judicial nominees to the governor, decided last week to release the list of candidates when it submits the list to the governor.

"In light of the changed circumstances with the Commission's actions, judicial applicants will no longer have any expectation of confidentiality," Louie said.

The commission's new policy followed Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto's  Nov. 14 ruling in a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by the Star-Advertiser. Sakamoto ordered Abercrombie to release the lists of names.

Louie said last week that the governor was still considering whether to appeal Sakamoto's ruling.

The previous two governors, Ben Cayetano and Linda Lingle, routinely released commission's lists for more than 45 judicial appointments.

But Abercrombie refused to do so when he appointed Sabrina McKenna to the Hawaii Supreme Court and two judges -- Karen T. Nakasone and Rhonda I.L. Loo  to the Circuit Court this year.

He said the disclosure would have a "chilling effect," discouraging lawyers from applying because their names might be made public.

Sakamoto ruled that Abercrombie's rationale was "speculation" because the state's lawyers didn't present any evidence to support that point.

Under the state constitution, the governor must appoint each state, appeals and circuit court jurist from lists of four to six candidates from the commission.

The chief justice appoints district judges from the commission's lists of at least six names. The court makes the lists public and solicits comments on the candidates.

The appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

The lists released today are below:

Associate Justice, Hawaii Supreme Court

Derrick H.M. Chan

Daniel R. Foley

Sabrina McKenna

Craig H. Nakamura

Richard W. Pollack



Judge, First Circuit Court

Leslie A. Hayashi

Shirley M. Kawamura

Lono J. Lee

Karen T. Nakasone

Bode A. Uale


Judge, Second Circuit Court

Mimi DesJardins

David M. Jorgensen

Kelsey T. Kawano

Rhonda I.L. Loo

Douglas J. Sameshima

Joseph L. Wildman


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Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Isn't it nice that our transparent hippie governor, has presented the nominees to the judicial bench after losing in the courts? So much for the suckers who voted for the honest liar.
on November 26,2011 | 12:47PM
localguy wrote:
Neil, the only "chilling effect" is your failure to act as an honest broker, the position you were elected to. Remember, you are no longer a "Beltway Bandit" living high off the hog. Now you work for us. Ensure this is the last time you fail to meet the standard or you will be packing your bags come next election. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
on November 26,2011 | 12:54PM
Bdpapa wrote:
How big of him! What a jerk!
on November 26,2011 | 01:08PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The first version of this story said: "The above list of soon to be unemployed lawyers is as follows..."
on November 26,2011 | 01:19PM
cojef wrote:
Isn't there a contempt of court penalty, when a judge orders the Gov. to release the names or list of names and there is compliance??
on November 26,2011 | 01:43PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
He was ordered to do so and then did. Why would there be a penalty? Maybe if he didn't release the names...
on November 26,2011 | 02:16PM
bahIggins wrote:
Guv, your ratings don't look to good
on November 26,2011 | 02:35PM
Dawg wrote:
But we LOVE YOU!
on November 26,2011 | 03:30PM
aiea7 wrote:
It appears the governor did not pick the best qualified person for each judgeship; maybe that is the reason he declined to disclose the list. In the supreme court selection, there appears two other names who would have been better. In the first circuit court, there is at least one other a better choice. In the second circut, not familiar with the nominees as they are from Maui, but i viewed the confirmation hearing of Judge Loo - she failed to show the depth of her legal knowledge and experience; she was not familiar with some of the cases that were brought up, etc. and would state that she was not faimilar with the facts of the cases. This was a very poor choice. I believe Wildman was originally selected but was withdrawn for some kind of conflict on interest. Feel sorry for the people on Maui.
on November 26,2011 | 03:13PM
Changalang wrote:
Looks like the Governor took the high road. He could have easily appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court for an easy win, or just let the Judicial Selection Committee release the names per their own policy change. However, he released them himself in good faith, even though the law is clearly on his side as Executive. Doubters should research it.
on November 26,2011 | 03:46PM
Anonymous wrote:
Yes, Changalang, "Waaaa, I'll do it but I don't like it" is clearly taking the high road.
on November 26,2011 | 03:58PM
Anonymous wrote:
"...the law is clearly on this side as Executive." Wasn't so clear to the Circuit Court, was it? Are you insinuating that the judge didn't "research it"? Your biased, insidery voice gets old and obvious fast, Changalang.
on November 26,2011 | 04:01PM
Changalang wrote:
Judge Sakamoto's vs. my "bias"? LOL. Get real. Your lack of respect for the judicial hierarchy and ignorance of the State Constitution transcends any weight your opinion may have. Read article 6 and come back and post where it says that candidates must be disclosed by the Governor to anyone but those involved in gov't involved with the selection. Next, look up the "Pray vs. Judicial Selection Commission case that provided the Governor with discretion to release the names, contrary to Judge Sakamoto's ruling against the State in the recent case filed by the Star-Advertiser." Get thee back under your bridge. The Hawaii Supreme Court would not be so flippant as to ignore precedence established and upheld by itself. LOL.
on November 26,2011 | 05:55PM
wiliki wrote:
I disagree. The state Attorneys general had a chance to present these arguments and they lost the case. It's the judges opinion that counts-- not yours. They also had a chance to present the governor's argument but they chose not to. They were over confident of winning the case. Clearly it's not so obvious a decision.
on November 26,2011 | 07:31PM
Changalang wrote:
You can disagree, but the end point in the Judicial process in Hawaii was not in Karl's court, and often is not. Appealing to the Supreme Court became a mute point when the JSC released the names by changing its own rules. It is not like the State Attorney General is going to sue the JSC. Maybe the plaintiffs can sue the JSC for not letting the Governor release the names as forced by court order. Oh wait, that is a mute point also. Article 6 does not entitle the public or the media to have their hand in influencing judicial selection, but the JSC did. Abs could've been a stinker about it and push the point on appeal. He moved on. Perhaps the "victors" in the case should too. Wasn't the goal to find out the names? Kind of anti-climatic, don't you think?
on November 26,2011 | 07:47PM
Changalang wrote:
From under your bridge, it is impossible to see the high road. Trolls are allowed to have an opinion, though. Please continue to indulge yourself.
on November 26,2011 | 05:57PM
Anonymous wrote:
Goodness gracious, you're a smug one. Problem with your analysis of Pray is that the court ruled that while it is the sole discretion of the appointing authority to release the list of names, the court found no reason why the appointing authority shouldn't release the list of names.
on November 26,2011 | 06:58PM
Changalang wrote:
Take it up with the current State Attorney General as quoted without reference in the post you are responding to while you continue to fantasize about the current Hawaii Supreme Court reversing on its own precedent. Neil took the high road. The Star Advertiser should also. The JSC already let the cat out of the bag, so way pound it home and piss off the all powerful media? If you look at the nominees, Abs has a point regarding the public process not bringing out the best of the best for the bench. Maybe someday, you yourself will make the list when you outgrow your "insidery" nature; then again, maybe not.
on November 26,2011 | 07:21PM
Changalang wrote:
Looks like S.A. is mad enough to censor. Pathetic.
on November 26,2011 | 07:24PM
Changalang wrote:
One more time; Take it up with the current State Attorney General as quoted without reference in the post you are responding to while you continue to fantasize about the current Hawaii Supreme Court reversing on its own precedent. Neil took the high road. The Star Advertiser should also. The J.S.C. already spilled the beans, so why pound it home and upset the all powerful local media further? If you look at the nominees, Abs has a point regarding the public process not bringing out the best of the best for the bench. Maybe someday, you yourself will make the list when you outgrow your "i-n-s-i-d-e-r-y" nature; then again, maybe not.
on November 26,2011 | 07:27PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
on November 26,2011 | 07:41PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Unfortunately I grew up looking at Comic Books, throughout the 1960s when they were like 12 cents each and I liked such classics as Sad Sack, because my Dad wanted to check those out because he served in The Korean War in the early 1950s and he was a Staff Seageant in intelligence as an interpreter. I never asked him if he was involved in Combat, which by the way for some unknown reason one of my favorite broadcasts shows on network TV in the 1960s along with Star Trek, McHale's Navy and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Anyway I give you that background because my verbal SAT score was 310, while my Math Score was 620. Oops I got to pick up my brother who went to tonight's UH 35 Tulane 23 game. Anyway I was going to say that Neil still seems to be trying to tell us in the photo attached to this breaking news that: "Hey, I tried my best fellas, however I am not a Lawyer. I am an American Studies major at UH."
on November 26,2011 | 08:25PM
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