In a vote that was largely a formality, the Senate on Thursday declined to appoint Dan Gluck to the Intermediate Court of Appeals shortly after Gluck asked Gov. David Ige to withdraw his name from consideration for the court.

Withdrawing Gluck’s nomination would have meant that the governor could lose the ability to make another appointment because of deadlines set in the constitution, according to Sen. Karl Rhoads in explaining why the Senate would carry through with the vote during Thursday’s floor session.

Since the Senate rejected Gluck’s appointment, the constitution now requires the governor to choose a new candidate from a list presented to him by the Judicial Selection Commission.

The vote Thursday morning was 17-6 opposing Gluck. Those who voted in favor include Sens. Stanley Chang, Mike Gabbard, Les Ihara, Sharon Moriwaki, Brian Taniguchi and Rhoads.

“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,” Ige said in a written statement.

Dan Gluck joint conference committee. Chad story. 27 april 2017
Dan Gluck, left, withdrew his nomination for the Intermediate Court of Appeals on Thursday. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Gluck said members of the public and attorneys who opposed his nomination 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,” Gluck said in a written statement.

Gluck said he hoped that withdrawing his nomination would create less division in the Senate and the broader community. He said the other candidates on the list have “extraordinarily impressive credentials,” and he looks forward to seeing one of them serve on the ICA.

Gluck said he is saddened he can’t serve as an ICA judge.

“I am sincerely grateful, however, that — through this process– our legislators have indicated their unwavering support for social justice,” Gluck said. “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.”

The other candidates are:

  • Lance Collins, a Maui attorney in private practice since 2005;
  • Summer M. M. Kupau-Odo, a District Court judge of the First Circuit since 2018;
  • Sonja M.P. McCullen, a deputy prosecuting attorney for the City and County of Honolulu;
  • Malia E. Schreck, an attorney in private practice; and
  • Taryn R. Tomasa Gifford, a deputy public defender with the Office of the Public Defender, Appellate Division.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee declined to support Gluck’s nomination. Rhoads, the committee chairman, asked members to support Gluck but his request was turned down on a 4-3 vote.

Testifiers opposing Gluck earlier in the week pointed to his apparent lack of courtroom experience. Many also raised concerns on the diversity of the state judiciary in general. Still, Ige stuck by his appointment.

Gluck’s supporters noted that working on the ICA doesn’t necessarily require a great deal of trial experience since many of the arguments made to the court are handled in briefs.

Gluck and his supporters also highlighted his extensive work on civil rights and experience as the executive director of the State Ethics Commission. In that role, Gluck spent a significant amount of time holding accountable lawmakers who would ultimately vote on his nomination.

Late last year, his office implemented new rules that ban the practice of giving lawmakers food and other items valued under $25. Lawmakers introduced bills in the 2021 session to claw back these “gifts of aloha” but none of the measures cleared the Legislature.

The ethics commission also avoided consolidation with other state watchdog agencies under a new Office of Public Accountability. A measure that proposed that new office also would have given lawmakers direct control over Gluck’s salary. That measure, which Gluck opposed, also died.

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