Hawaii Supreme Court
|Hawaii Supreme Court|
|Method:||Comm. select., Gov. appt.|
JusticesThe current justices of the court are:
|Associate Justice Paula Nakayama||1993-2023||Gov. John D. Waihee III|
|Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald||2009-2020||Gov. Linda Lingle|
|Associate Justice Sabrina S. McKenna||2011-2021||Gov. Neil Abercrombie|
|Associate Justice Richard W. Pollack||2012-2020||Gov. Neil Abercrombie|
|Associate justice Michael D. Wilson||2014-2024||Gov. Neil Abercrombie|
The Hawaii Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over cases decided in lower courts within the state. These appeals come in the form of reserved and certified questions from lower courts or federal courts, and writs of certiorari. The court has exclusive jurisdiction over elections cases, rules governing the procedures of all state courts, and regulation and discipline of attorneys and judges.
Judges are selected using the commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection where the Hawaii Judicial Selection Commission forwards a list of candidates to the Governor. The Governor of Hawaii then appoints a candidate who must then be confirmed by the Hawaii State Senate. Justices serve renewable ten-year terms which are approved or denied by the Hawaii Judicial Selection Commission. There is a mandatory retirement age of 70 for the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is appointed in the same method, but the appointment can be made from current members of the court.
In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of State Supreme Court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of Hawaii was given a Campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, Hawaii received a score of -0.29. Based on the justices selected, Hawaii was the 17th most liberal court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.
Minimum qualifications for appointment to the court are:
- Under the age of 70 at time of appointment.
- Resident of Hawaii and the United States of America.
- Licensed to practice law for no less than ten years prior to appointment.
- Not holding other political office or actively practicing law after appointment.
Removal of Justices
Judges may be removed in two ways:
- Not retained by the Hawaii Judicial Selection Commission.
- The Commission on Judicial Conduct has the authority to "investigate and conduct hearings concerning allegations of judicial misconduct or disability and to recommend to the supreme court that a judge be reprimanded, disciplined, suspended, retired, or removed."
In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. Hawaii earned a grade of D in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.
History of the court
- Courts in Hawaii
- Judicial selection in Hawaii
- Hawaii judicial news
- Hawaii blogs
- News: HI Governor appoints Richard Pollack to the State Supreme Court, June 6, 2012
- Hawaii Judiciary Official Site
- Hawaii Legal News
- Hawaii appellate court opinions and orders
- Hawaii Bar Association website
- Hawaii Supreme Court Website
- Justices information from the Hawaii Supreme Court website
- Stanford University "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
- Hawaii Application for Judicial Office
- Methods of Judicial selection: Removal of Judges
- Hawaii Court System, Annual Report 2010 (scroll to page 14)
- Hawaii Court System, Annual Report 2011 (scroll to page 12)
- Hawaii Court System, Annual Report 2010 (scroll to page 10)
- Hawaii Court System, Annual Report 2009 (scroll to page 8)
- Center for Public Integrity "State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information," December 5, 2013
|Former||Ronald Moon • Steven Levinson • Simeon Acoba • James E. Duffy, Jr. •|