Hawaii Disclosure of Judicial Nominees' Names, Amendment 1 (2014)

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Amendment 1
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Hawaii Constitution
Referred by:Hawaii Legislature
Topic:State judiciary
Status:On the ballot
2014 measures
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The Hawaii Disclosure of Judicial Nominees' Names, Amendment 1 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Hawaii as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would require the judicial selection commission to disclose to the public the list of judicial nominees for each vacancy when the list is presented to the governor or chief justice.[1]

The amendment was introduced into the Hawaii Legislature as House Bill 420, and was approved unanimously.[1]

In Hawaii, an amendment must win not just a majority of all votes cast on that particular proposal, but a majority of the vote of everyone voting in that election. This is known as a double majority.

Text of the measure

Ballot title

The text that will appear on the ballot is as follows:[1]

Shall the judicial selection commission, when presenting a list of nominees to the governor or the chief justice to fill a vacancy in the office of the chief justice, supreme court, intermediate appellate court, circuit courts or district courts, be required, at the same time, to disclose that list to the public?[2]

Constitutional changes

See also: Article VI, Hawaii Constitution

The measure amends the first subsection of Section 3 of Article VI of the Hawaii Constitution:[3]

Appointment of Justices and Judges

Section 3. The governor, with the consent of the senate, shall fill a vacancy in the office of the chief justice, supreme court, intermediate appellate court and circuit courts, by appointing a person from a list of not less than four, and not more than six, nominees for the vacancy, presented to the governor by the judicial selection commission.

If the governor fails to make any appointment within thirty days of presentation, or within ten days of the senate's rejection of any previous appointment, the appointment shall be made by the judicial selection commission from the list with the consent of the senate. If the senate fails to reject any appointment within thirty days thereof, it shall be deemed to have given its consent to such appointment. If the senate shall reject any appointment, the governor shall make another appointment from the list within ten days thereof. The same appointment and consent procedure shall be followed until a valid appointment has been made, or failing this, the commission shall make the appointment from the list, without senate consent.

The chief justice, with the consent of the senate, shall fill a vacancy in the district courts by appointing a person from a list of not less than six nominees for the vacancy presented by the judicial selection commission. If the chief justice fails to make the appointment within thirty days of presentation, or within ten days of the senate's rejection of any previous appointment, the appointment shall be made by the judicial selection commission from the list with the consent of the senate. The senate shall hold a public hearing and vote on each appointment within thirty days of any appointment. If the senate fails to do so, the nomination shall be returned to the commission and the commission shall make the appointment from the list without senate consent. The chief justice shall appoint per diem district court judges as provided by law.

The judicial selection commission shall disclose to the public the list of nominees for each vacancy concurrently with the presentation of each list to the governor or the chief justice, as applicable.[2]


Support

Supporters

  • Americans for Democratic Action - Hawaii[4]
  • League of Women Voters of Hawaii[5]

Arguments

  • Jean Aoki of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii stated, “Increased sunshine in the process of selecting judges would increase public confidence in the Judiciary.”[5]

Opposition

Opponents

Arguments

  • Attorney General David M. Louie (D) issued a statement in opposition to HB 420. His statement said, "The Attorney General believes that confidentiality is critical to getting attorneys who would make good judges to apply to fill judicial vacancies, and believes that passage of this bill could undermine the quality of our Judiciary."[4]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Hawaii Constitution

HB 420 was introduced into the Hawaii Legislature on January 18, 2013. The bill was approved through a two-thirds vote in both legislative chambers. HB 420 was approved in the Hawaii House of Representatives on February 27, 2014. The amendment was approved in the Hawaii Senate on March 21, 2014.[6]

House vote

February 27, 2014 House vote

Hawaii HB 420 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 49 100.00%
No00.00%

Senate vote

March 21, 2014 Senate vote

Hawaii HB 420 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 22 100.00%
No00.00%

See also

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hawaii Legislature, "H.B. No. 420," accessed April 28, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named language
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Hawaii Legislature, "HB 420 Judicial Testimony on January 17, 2014," accessed August 13, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hawaii Legislature, "HB 420 Finance Testimony on February 19, 2014," accessed August 13, 2014
  6. Hawaii Legislature, "HB 420 Status," accessed April 28, 2014