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Senate confirms Wilson as state Supreme Court justice

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 05:35 p.m. HST, Mar 17, 2014

The state Senate voted 23 to 1 on Monday to confirm Circuit Judge Michael Wilson as an associate justice on the state Supreme Court.

Wilson will replace Associate Justice Simeon Acoba, who has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Wilson, who has served on the Circuit Court since 2000, is a former director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the state's consumer advocate. He was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. His term on the Supreme Court is 10 years.

"I am humbled by and grateful for the consent of the Senate," Wilson told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser after the vote. "(Senate) President (Donna Mercado) Kim and all the members of the Senate treated me with patience and kindness and fairness and due process. I'm especially grateful for the courage and the strength and the wisdom of chairman (Clayton) Hee throughout this process."

Hee, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee, recommended that Wilson be confirmed.

Hee and other senators were critical of the Hawaii State Bar Association, which rated Wilson "unqualified" for the nomination.

Several senators called for changes in the process after Wilson was subjected to negative comments about his behavior toward women and work ethic that were made by confidential sources and never publicly substantiated.

Sen. Rosalyn Baker was the only senator to vote against Wilson's confirmation. She questioned whether Wilson was the best nominee for the state's highest court and cited confidential complaints made to her by women about Wilson's conduct.

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oiwi808 wrote:
Totally agree with this decision. I don't usually agree with Clayton Hee...but in this case the right choice was made. An anonymous accusation should never be allowed. If you are going to accuse someone...then show yourself. Don't hide behind the confidential complaint card. You have the balls to tell someone, then have the balls to show your face & back up what you say.
on March 17,2014 | 01:56PM
kuewa wrote:
While I agree that any accusations should be substantiated, I can also understand that the accuser(s) might be fearful of recrimination, including job loss, even if the accusations are valid. Just think back to Anita Hill. The Bar Assn is composed of lawyers who are well aware of the need for substantiation and apparently found enough reason to speak out against this appointment. I think the Senate could have at least held a public hearing, including testimony from the Bar Assn, before voting. The way it happened, it gives the impression of more shibai. And by the way, last time I checked, wahine don't have balls but they are often more courageous than those that have them.
on March 17,2014 | 02:07PM
dmakiu wrote:
"Just think back to Anita Hill." The very fact that you reference her by name means she put her name out there. And because she did come forward to try and back up her story, legislators in turn were able to ask her reasonable and fair questions and got answers that made it appear she was being used by people who had an agenda against Clarence Thomas and had trumped up her charges. From the women's caucus memo printed in Saturday's Star-Advertiser complaining about harassment of women, no one could have a clue as to what could constitute such harassment, especially by a judge in open court or by a judge in chambers or by a man on the public streets, and not have resulted in corrective action on the spot and public knowledge already. We can all be against harassment of women by men, but how does that translate to senatorial rejection of the governor's appointment of Judge Wilson? Senator Laura Thielen's barrage of "tough questions" was so weak as to make a mockery of her indignation. Surely if there was the restraining order against him as her confidant claims Thielen could have gotten it from court records and flied it in Wilson's face when he denied it. Meanwhile, there is a DPP notice of violation against Wilson, and it gets no attention from the Senators. Since Senator Michele Kidani thinks it's "her job" to "look at any plea for help," "whether in the light or the dark," she should have looked at the NOV made in the light and on the record by the DPP. Just don't be making bald harassment-of-women charges from the dark and expecting to make headway; that would weaken the constitutional processes that answer all our pleas for help, men's and women's..
on March 17,2014 | 03:58PM
thanks4reading wrote:
Anita Hill did not go to the process, it came to her. She was sought out by investigators, told the truth (not proven otherwise) and got buried by partisan politics. Thomas should never have been allowed on the court (irregardless of Hill's allegations). He was opposed by the ABA. Participating in a decision in which his wife was a lobbyist for one of the sides is a clear conflict of interest which he would not disqualify himself from.
on March 17,2014 | 05:50PM
kuewa wrote:
Mahalo for that explanation. Dmakiu seems to have missed the point of my comment, but you captured it perfectly. As far as I can tell, the Hawai`i Senate did not provide an opportunity for any type of investigation or public disclosure regarding the Hawai`i Bar Assn assessment. Instead, the appointment was hurried through with virtually no public discussion of the concerns. So now we have a Supreme Court judge who starts with having a negative from the agency that certifies lawyers.
on March 18,2014 | 12:29AM
droid wrote:
I don’t think any of the accusers had “balls” per se, but yes they could have submitted written testimony without showing their face. If not, as it has been reported that these women are in the legal profession, they understand that anyone can make an anonymous complaint confidentially. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an ounce of truth to it.
on March 17,2014 | 02:08PM
loquaciousone wrote:
It was a case of Hee said she said and Hee had the last say.
on March 17,2014 | 02:01PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Groan-worthy... nice.
on March 17,2014 | 02:26PM
MakaniKai wrote:
Very clevah ! ;-)
on March 17,2014 | 02:30PM
Frances wrote:
Let's hope the Senators don't regret this decision in the years ahead. I would bet the other Supreme Court justices will be keeping an eye on this guy.
on March 17,2014 | 02:11PM
joya1188 wrote:
Completely supportive of confirmation without reservation.
on March 17,2014 | 02:23PM
DAGR81 wrote:
If in doubt, err on the side of caution.
on March 17,2014 | 03:21PM
Ulalei wrote:
Must be hard when a body of your own peers doesn't think you're good enough to be a Justice. I missed the hearings, but would've been interesting to hear Wilson's take on due process in the criminal, civil, administrative, and job interview contexts.
on March 17,2014 | 03:48PM
fairgame947 wrote:
on March 17,2014 | 04:04PM
pueohonua wrote:
What makes this guy so qualified? He hasn't done anything "earth" shattering. Clayton Hee is a "grand stander". He thinks his railroading of the process makes him powerful and that its reflected glory and that he is a "power player". Hee may be making some friends but he will never see the halls of congress or the 5th floor of the legislature. This is it for him.
on March 17,2014 | 04:32PM
nitpikker wrote:
only time will tell.
on March 17,2014 | 04:40PM
nitpikker wrote:
but if allegations are true, will not forget hee and abercrummie.
on March 17,2014 | 04:42PM
CloudForest wrote:
Here he is folks! Named to the highest court in Hawaii, and he has the morals of former President Clinton and is now capable of exacting his desires with impunity! Wilson is THE WAR ON WOMEN .... what a strange state we all live in - the state of denial....
on March 17,2014 | 04:41PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Yet you've jumped to a conclusion and convicted a man with out any evidence. What kind of morality is that?
on March 17,2014 | 07:14PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Makes no difference if he did anything wrong or not, Incompetent Gov. Abercrombie wants him in and Chairman Hee pushed it through as he was directed to do. Mission accomplished.
on March 17,2014 | 08:32PM
CloudForest wrote:
First hand reports from credible young ladies that have worked with him - where there is factual smoke there is factual fire.
on March 17,2014 | 09:59PM
whaole wrote:
Congratulations to Judge Wilson and also to the Senate Leaders for making a quick and united decision.
on March 17,2014 | 05:53PM
gmejk wrote:
In the end, it's who you know, especially in this state. Mr. Wilson is very well connected, and some people (Clayton Hee) were not going to let his nomination be denied. The arrogant way that business is done in this state by the dominant (only) political party is appalling.
on March 17,2014 | 06:15PM
Anonymous wrote:
I suggest a lesson in logic. Connected therefore a bad person is poor logic. Gossip and innuendo without evidence is poor logic. We are not ruled by mindlessness. We must be ruled by reason.
on March 17,2014 | 07:51PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
No one said he was bad, just likely not the best candidate for the job. That's just about certain.
on March 17,2014 | 08:36PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Yea ... they don't even try to hide it anymore, they get re-elected anyway.
on March 17,2014 | 08:34PM
SueH wrote:
The outcome is no surprise, but was all this drama really necessary???
on March 17,2014 | 07:55PM
HOSSANA wrote:
I, for one, support Sen. Baker in voting against Wilson. Unfortunately, these confidential complaints could not be made in person for fear of repercussions and I can't blame them. Only Wilson can answer to his own MAKER whether he has the character and fortitude to be on the highest court.
on March 17,2014 | 09:25PM
Kuokoa wrote:
This liberal socialist was going to be approved to the Supreme Court no matter what.
on March 17,2014 | 10:24PM
dmakiu wrote:
Kuewa and thanks4reading agree with each other. But neither one's opinion is in agreement with the facts and reality. The process came to Anita Hill? Factually and in reality, Hill went to the Hill, not vice-versa. Plus, she went with a phalanx of attorneys. Going nearly cross country with a bunch of legal beagles means she went to the process. Saying otherwise is mindless word games. She did go, and that is the way it should be. Of all people, a lawyer should be expected to stand behind his claim. That gives the decision maker and the respondent a fair and reasonable chance to test the claim. In the Clarence Thomas case, Anita Hill's claim crumbled when she and her main supporting witness had to but couldn't answer basic questions. Like, how come you had the entire passage about Long John Silver; looked it and the whole thing up on Nexis? How come you didn't throw Clarence Thomas out after you saw the pubic hair on the Coke can? How come you didn't tell anyone except that one woman who stuttered her way to disbelief. How come you followed him to his next post? To say Clarence Thomas proved himself to be unworthy of a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court says you have not read any of his opinions He has proven himself to be a great jurist. You think his wife being a lobbyist for a party requires him to recuse himself? Show the readers your are thanking how exactly the final decision was actually affected by the so-called conflict. Explain why you would want a court of less than full membership to be making law oh because wife is a lobbyist for a party. Explain how bias would not show itself in the process of putting positions before all other justices and in the opinion itself. ABA opposition is a so what. Who doesn't believe the ABA is a ruling class body of elites. As for the HSBA opposition, it was laughable. To say they had to hide the factual foundation to preserve confidentiality is a lie. Like, being late for court. All the HSBA had to do was provide court minutes, which shows when a judge opens the hearing. Surely the HSBA already had such objective proof when they made the claim that Wilson is late to court. So why didn't they just provide it. And if they provided it, what client in the world could be linked and suffer retaliation. And what of the attorneys who said at the hearing that they didn't get the email notice to comment that the President elect claimed to have sent out in HSBA's effort to truly survey the entire membership. Finally, why would you accept the HSBA opposition when the HSBA representative, its President elect, walked away from its opposition and said, wasn't me, I wasn't at the HSBA interview of Wilson. I personally don't like the Wilson appointment, and I think Clayton Hee is a confused blowhard, but of the three parties in this mater, the only clown was the HSBA.
on March 19,2014 | 01:16PM
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