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Senators recommend confirmation of Wilson to high court

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 9:31 p.m. HST, Mar 6, 2014

In a unanimous vote of confidence, the state Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee on Thursday recommended the confirmation of Circuit Judge Michael Wilson for the state Supreme Court.

Friends, former law partners, retired judges and prominent attorneys described Wilson as a man of integrity who has the legal acumen and judicial temperament to serve on the state's highest court.

Senators rejected the Hawaii State Bar Association's conclusion that Wilson is "unqualified" for the nomination and condemned the unsubstantiated allegations about Wilson's character that surfaced during the bar's review process.

But the confirmation hearing did expose Wilson to questions about his personal life, including an uncorroborated account that Wilson, while director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, harassed a contestant in the Miss Universe pageant in Honolulu in 1998.

Sen. Clayton Hee (D, Heeia-Laie-Waialua), the chairman of the Judiciary and Labor Committee, recommended that Wilson be confirmed by the full Senate. But Hee said the Senate, in an abundance of caution, would wait until later this month to take the vote, enough time for people to come forward and potentially substantiate rumors about Wilson's character.

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