HONOLULU, HAWAII – Governor Linda Lingle today called on the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations to support Judge Katherine Leonard as Hawai‘i’s next Chief Justice and Judge Faauuga To‘oto‘o as a Circuit Court judge.

“The Hawai‘i State Bar Association’s (HSBA) ‘unqualified’ ratings of Judge Katherine Leonard and Judge Faauuga To‘oto‘o are outrageous and are clearly not based on the legal experience and qualifications of these two highly qualified nominees,” said Governor Lingle.

“The State Bar Association’s review process was unfair, flawed, and conducted under a veil of secrecy, with no accountability to the public.  The HSBA has refused to state its reasons for its ratings.

“It is impossible to know whether there is political, gender or ethnic bias on the part of the HSBA, since they refuse to state their reasons.  I hope the Senate will see there is no validity to their ratings.  I have confidence that the Senate will carefully consider the overwhelming favorable testimony from the legal community and those who know Judge Leonard’s and Judge To‘oto‘o’s respective bodies of work, as well as their character and integrity.

“I believe he Senate committee has the responsibility to do the right thing and give both judges a positive recommendation.”

Judge Leonard’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. in room 229 of the State Capitol.

Submitted by Lenny Klompus, Senior Advisor – Communications, for the office of the governor

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