BY JIM DOOLEY – After Gov. Neil Abercrombie bungled the appointment of Peter Cahill to the Maui Circuit Court, Cahill’s
selection is back on track.
Abercrombie picked Cahill for the job Tuesday, but later acknowledged that he had missed the appointment deadline by two days.
That blunder meant the appointment defaulted to the state Judicial Selection Commission, which today named Cahill, a Maui attorney, to the bench.
“The commission was duty-bound to make an appointment after the Governor’s office failed to do so,” the agency said in a news release today.
Normally the Commission screens candidates for appointment to the Circuit and Supreme Courts and submits names of qualified nominees to the governor for selection.
But the state Constitution says that if the governor fails to act within 30 days of receiving a list, the commission must make the appointment.
“I should have made the appointment on Sunday, June 10th, which was the deadline,” Abercrombie said Tuesday in admitting his error.
The commission said in its news release that it “met as expeditiously as possible” to consider the five candidates it had recommended to the governor for the judicial appointment.
“The Commission holds all of the nominees in high regard, but decided on Mr. Cahill based on a number of different factors,” today’s announcement said.
“Mr. Cahill has a wide range of experience in over 30 years in private practice as a litigator, mediator, and arbitrator of personal injury and commercial disputes. He received stellar references from judges as well as attorneys. He also has devoted a considerable amount of time to pro bono representation of clients unable to pay for legal services, and has established a reputation for fairness among his peers on Maui,” the commission said.
The Maui court vacancy opened when Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto retired.
Cahill still has a hurdle to clear before he can be fitted for a judge’s robes.
His appointment must be affirmed by the state Senate.
“The Commission has presented Senator Shan Tsutsui, president of the Senate, with its letter of appointment of Mr. Cahill today,” the commission said in its news release.
The Senate will meet in special session to consider the appointments of both Cahill and Circuit Judge Richard Pollack, selected by Cayetano last week to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.