Abercrombie Relents On Nominees' Names, But Hasn't Changed His View

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Gov. Neil Abercrombie made clear Monday that the "single most important" thing he does as governor is appoint judges.

And while he relented and on Saturday released the names of nominees for the positions he's filled so far, he hasn't changed his view that the names shouldn't be public, or that the law doesn't require them to be public.

Abercrombie took issue with the Nov. 14 ruling of Judge Karl Sakamoto that the list of nominees is a public record and must be released. He charged that Sakamoto had exceeded his judicial authority by crossing into legislative territory.

The governor picked apart the ruling, calling attention to Sakamoto's use of words and phrases such as "unique circumstance," "special conditions" and "inconceivable."

Asked about his decision to ultimately release the names, the governor said it had nothing to do with Sakamoto's ruling, nor the Judicial Selection Commission's announcement on Nov. 23 that it has changed its policy and would release the names at the same time as they're sent to the governor.

Abercrombie instead suggested that the ruling and rule change effectively made it unnecessary to keep the names secret. But, he said he stands by his argument that the names should not be made public, and that the Legislature gave the governor discretion whether to release the names.

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