By Senator Sam Slom
From the Hawaii Kai NHB #1 Report, August 31, 2010.
The State Senate is meeting in special session this week for the confirmation of two judicial nominees. Senate floor sessions will be called to order on September 1 and 2 to take care of the nominations of Justice Mark E. Recktenwald to the Chief Justice position in the Hawaii State Supreme Court and the confirmation of Blaine J. Kobayashi to the District Court of the Second Circuit for the County of Maui.
Both nominees appeared before the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations (JGO) committee on August 25 of which I am a member. The committee heard about 2 hours worth of testimony, most in support of the nominees. It is expected that the JGO committee will vote to advise and consent on the nominees, after which they should pass a confirmation vote before the full Senate on September 2.
Mark Recktenwald will become Hawaii’s 5th Chief Justice, succeeding Chief Justice Ronald Moon who will resign by September 4 due to the mandatory age limit statute that applies to all Hawaii State judges.
Recktenwald is a current associate justice on the Hawaii State Supreme Court after being named to the position last May. He previously served in the Hawaii State Intermediate Court of Appeals and was Director of the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs from 2003 to 2007.
Recktenwald is the 2nd person to be nominated by Governor Lingle to the Chief Justice position after the her initial nominee, Judge Katherine Leonard was turned down by the State Senate after going through the lengthy process and facing her critics.
District court nominee Blaine J. Kobayashi is a partner in the Carlsmith Ball LLP firm in Maui County. He previously served as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Maui County, Deputy County Attorney for Kauai County and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, also for the County of Kauai.
The Senate floor sessions will be held in the Capitol Auditorium instead of the Senate Chamber which have been taken over since July by the Office of Elections for election tallying this fall. The September 1 session will be held at 10:00 am followed by a JGO committee hearing for decision making in Room 229 at 11:00 am the same day.
On September 2, the Senate is to meet again for the 11:00 am special session where the confirmation vote is to be taken.
Photo: Associate Justice Mark Recktenwald (left) appears before the Senate JGO committee on August 25. Also shown are KHON TV reporter Andrew Perreira and his cameraman; Sen. Brickwood Galuteria and Sen. Sam Slom.