State Senate Confirms Recktenwald as Hawaii’s New Chief Justice

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BY SENATOR SAM SLOM – The Hawaii State Senate confirmed Mark E. Recktenwald as Hawaii’s newest Chief Justice to the Hawaii State Supreme Court today. He succeeds Ronald Moon who stepped down this month upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The full Senate also confirmed 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 JGO committee voted unanimously to advise and consent to Recktenwald’s confirmation yesterday.

The full Senate approved his confirmation by a 22—0 vote at today’s special session.

Recktenwald served as 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.
When nominated by Governor Linda Lingle to the position of Chief Justice, she stated, ―Justice Recktenwald is highly regarded in the legal community and I have confidence that he will guide our courts in ensuring the rule of law is upheld and the tenants of our Constitution are protected.

In addition to his outstanding legal expertise, Justice Recktenwald possesses exceptional leadership ability and strong administrative experience that garners respect and admiration, while achieving results.

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.

I think Justice Recktenwald will be an outstanding Chief Justice and a beacon for judicial improvement in Hawaii.

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.

Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai, is an economist and small business advocate who runs Smart Business Hawaii.