“The Governor believes that disclosing the names of the JSC nominees who are not appointed would reduce the number, and limit the range of experience of those who are willing to apply and serve as justices and judges of the state’s courts,” Deputy Attorney General Charleen Aina said in the letter, which she provided to both Civil Beat and the Star-Advertiser Tuesday evening.
Aina goes on to say that Gov. Linda Lingle‘s pool of judicial applicants was so small because she disclosed the names of potential nominees. Attached to the letter are exhibits that show Lingle’s appointments as well as relevant Lingle press releases and notices of deadlines that were extended to encourage more applicants.
The letter does not mention that Lingle was the first Republican governor in 40 years and that the pool of lawyers and judges for her to select from could well be smaller than the pool for Democrats in a deep blue state.
Aina pointed out that the Hawaii Supreme Court decision that OIP has referenced in a 2003 opinion and its letter to Abercrombie this year does not explicitly require the disclosure of the applicant list even after the appointee is confirmed.
“Accordingly, until a court, with the benefit of a full evidentiary record determines that the Governor is mistaken in his understanding that the JSC’s lists are confidential, and more importantly that disclosure will not frustrate the JSC’s and his responsibility to nominate and appoint the justices and judges of the State’s courts, the Governor cannot be required to disclose the contents of the JSC’s list as Mr. Kobayashi and Levine request,” the letter concludes.