Leaders of the state Senate’s Women’s Caucus today applauded Gov. David Ige’s nominations of four women to Hawaii’s Circuit Courts. A fifth woman also has been nominated by Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.
Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani, (D, Mililani-Waikele-Kunia), and Sen. Rosalyn Baker, (D, West Maui-South Maui) — co-conveners of the Senate Women’s Caucus — said in a statement today that, “For the first time in recent memory, nearly of all the individuals being considered by the Senate to fill judicial vacancies are women. We applaud the Governor for recognizing the need for gender diversification in the courts and look forward to reviewing their qualifications during this week’s convening.”
Ige’s Circuit Court nominees are:
>> Clarissa Y. Malinao, Shanlyn A.S. Park and Kevin T. Morikone to Oahu’s First Circuit Court;
>> Kirstin M. Hamman to Maui’s Second Circuit Court;
>> Wendy M. DeWeeseto to Hawaii island’s Third Circuit Court. Recktenwald also nominated Kimberly B.M. Taniyama to the Third Circuit District Court.
A special Senate confirmation process is scheduled to begin Wednesday, followed by a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and subsequent Senate floor session Thursday and potential decision making back before the Judiciary Committee later Thursday. Final votes are scheduled for Friday.
The support for the five women nominees follows two days of criticism in July over the nomination of Daniel Gluck to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, Hawaii’s second-highest court.
Female attorneys, in particular, said at the time that they risked their legal careers by criticizing Gluck’s nomination for having far less experience before both the Intermediate Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court than any of the other nominees — and for lack of gender and ethnic diversity on Hawaii’s highest courts.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted against recommending Gluck’s nomination. He then withdrew his name from consideration but the full Senate later officially voted 17-6 against Gluck’s nomination.
Ige then nominated Sonja McCullen — a Honolulu deputy prosecutor who previously taught social studies, Hawaiian studies and Hawaiian language at Waianae High School — to the ICA.
Gluck, executive director/general counsel of the state Ethics Commission, announced in August that he planned to retire from the Ethics Commission.