The United States Senate has confirmed former Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit by a vote of 72-27.
Judge Bennett, who will maintain chambers in Honolulu, was nominated to the court by President Donald Trump on Feb. 15. Sens. Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz both voted to confirm Bennett. After appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 11, his nomination was reported to the Senate floor May 10. He fills a judgeship vacant since Dec. 31, 2016, when Judge Richard R. Clifton of Honolulu assumed senior status.
“Mark is recognized as one of the best qualified lawyers in the State of Hawaii. He has served as a federal prosecutor, as our state’s Attorney General, and in private practice,” Hirono said in a statement. “I have every confidence that Mark will put his skills and experience to good use on the bench as a fair and impartial judge, beholden to nothing but the law and the Constitution.”
“I am very pleased to see Mark Bennett confirmed with a decisive bipartisan vote in the Senate,” said Schatz in a news release. “This is the way the process is supposed to work. I’ve known Mark for many years, going back to when I served in the Hawaii State Legislature and he served as the state attorney general. Even though we were on different sides of the aisle, Mark was never difficult to work with, because he never had a partisan agenda. Instead, he approached every issue by focusing on the substance and how we could make things better for Hawaii. Because Mark made the effort to understand where others were coming from, we were able to find common ground. He will make an outstanding judge.”
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Bennett had been director of Starn, O’Toole, Marcus & Fisher in Honolulu since 2011. Occasionally, he served as special deputy attorney general for Hawaii and as a special deputy corporation counsel for Honolulu.
Bennett has also been a manager, member and owner of Beecher Hill Properties LLC in Honolulu since 2013. He served as attorney general of Hawaii from 2003 to 2010 and was an adjunct professor of law at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law in the early ’90s and in the 2000s.