New OIP Chief: Fighting Gov for Judge List 'Futile'

Flickr: Marcin Wichary

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has made clear he won't release the list of Hawaii Supreme Court nominees unless compelled by a court of law. The state's open records czar has decided asking him again would be "futile."

In a letter emailed to Civil Beat and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Friday afternoon, Abercrombie appointee Cheryl Kakazu Park said her Office of Information Practices will step aside. Her predecessor, Cathy Takase, was fired after she told Abercrombie he was breaking the law by withholding the list.

"It has been OIP's longstanding policy and practice to defer to the courts when an issue pending before OIP is also within the scope of a related litigation and thus has the potential to be addressed by a court," Park wrote in the letter. "Here, although no suit has yet been filed, it is apparent that rendering another OIP advisory opinion would be futile and that court action is necessary to resolve this specific dispute.

"Accordingly, OIP declines to expend its limited resources to issue another advisory opinion that will not resolve the current dispute and we will instead defer to the courts on this matter," she wrote.

Last week, a deputy attorney general reiterated Abercrombie's claim that revealing the list of names would discourage applicants and would frustrate a legitimate government function.

Civil Beat Editor John Temple said the company will review Park's letter and consider its options.

Messages left for Star-Advertiser Publisher Dennis Francis and Editor Frank Bridgewater were not immediately returned.

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