Daniel Gluck, the embattled nominee to Hawaii’s Intermediate Court of Appeals, withdrew his nomination today ahead of a full vote before the state Senate, which then voted against his nomination anyway 17 to 6.
Gluck’s withdrawal — followed by the pro forma vote in the Senate — allows Gov. David Ige to nominate someone else from the remaining list of five names sent to him by the Judicial Selection Commission.
Because of Gluck’s withdrawal, “We can move forward in allowing the governor to proceed with another selection,” said state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that voted 4 to 3 against Gluck’s nomination on Wednesday.
Ige now has until Aug. 8 to select another nominee from the remaining five names.
They are: Lance D. Collins; Summer M. M. Kupau-Odo; Sonja M.P. McCullen; Malia E. Schreck; and Taryn R. Tomasa Gifford.
Ige’s office encouraged the public to submit comments on any of the nominees at https://governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/contact-the-governor/
Senate President Ron Kouchi today thanked Gluck — who was present on video — for the way he handled himself this week.
“Thank you for the professional way in which he presented himself during the hearing,” Kouchi said. “… This was a difficult task, but everybody did their job to the best of their ability.”
Gluck is the executive director/general counsel for the state Ethics Commission and former legal director of the ACLU of Hawaii who by far had the least amount of experience before the ICA or the Hawaii Supreme Court than the five other people Ige considered.
If he stays with the Ethics Commission, Gluck’s relationship with the Legislature is not likely to change despite how his nomination was handled by the Judiciary Committee and Senate, said political analyst Neal Milner.
“It probably doesn’t hurt him,” Milner said. “I doubt if it affects him very much. He’s an ACLU lawyer. He’s certainly sensitive to the merits of an argument that talks about affirmative action.”
Colin Moore, director of the University of Hawaii Public Policy Center, said the relationship between the Legislature and Ethics Commission “is set up as adversarial. In some ways he’s the cop. That is not a position that makes you a lot of friends in the Legislature, even if you’re as respected as he is. He’s hardly the first person in that job who’s had a difficult relationship with the Legislature. In some ways that would lend him a certain credibility.”
Gluck’s withdrawal — and today’s Senate floor vote — followed two days of testimony and discussion about Gluck’s relative lack of experience and racial and gender inequities on Hawaii’s high courts.
In a statement today, Ige said, “I appreciate Mr. Gluck’s willingness to serve our communities and know that he will continue to be a voice for the underserved, no matter what his formal position. While the Senate came to a different conclusion about his appointment, I respect the process. I will be sending another name to the Senate within the time frame required by the State Constitution.”
In a statement issued through Ige’s office Gluck said, “I spoke with Governor Ige and Senate President Kouchi to convey my wish to withdraw my appointment to the Intermediate Court of Appeals (“ICA”). However, if I withdrew, it would have created confusion as to how the next appointment would be made. My understanding, therefore, is that the Senate had to proceed with a vote.
“Opponents of my appointment, particularly members of the Bar, were courageous in voicing their deeply rooted, legitimate grievances regarding the ways in which systemic racism and inequality permeate our lives. They are correct that it is not easy to oppose a judicial nominee. They are correct that every one of us has an obligation to do more to right historic injustice.
“During the Judiciary Committee hearing on my appointment, I stated that I wanted to follow the appointment process set forth in the Constitution. Yet I hope that, by indicating my desire to withdraw from this process, today’s vote can be less divisive for the Senate and Hawai‘i as a whole. The community deserves judges who bring all of us closer rather than fracturing us further. The other nominees on the list have extraordinarily impressive credentials; any one of them can, and will, serve the ICA with distinction.
“I applied to be a judge because I wanted to serve the people of Hawai‘i: to try to promote justice and equity in the islands I call home. I continue to believe that I have the skills, experience, temperament, and character to resolve cases thoroughly, fairly, quickly, and justly. I am humbled, beyond measure, by the testimony from colleagues, friends, judges, and community members – even those opposed to my appointment – attesting to my qualifications. I was and am honored, more than words can express, that the Governor selected me from such an esteemed list of nominees. I am deeply saddened that I cannot serve as an ICA judge. I am sincerely grateful, however, that – through this process – our legislators have indicated their unwavering support for social justice. I look forward to seeing concrete next steps from our policymakers towards these ends, and I hope I can be of assistance in these efforts. … I hope I can continue to serve this community for many years to come.”