Mark Bennett

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Mark J. Bennett
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Hawaii Attorney General
Former officeholder
In office
2003 - 2010
Elections and appointments
Appointed byGovernor of Hawaii
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUnion College
J.D.Cornell Law School
Mark J. Bennett was the Republican Attorney General of Hawaii from 2002 until 2010, originally appointed to the position by Governor Linda Lingle on January 3, 2003. He was the first Republican appointed to the statewide political office in forty years.


  • Bachelor's degree, Union College (1976) in political science
  • Juris Doctorate degree, Cornell Law School (1979) magna cum laude

Professional experience

Shortly after graduating from law school, Bennett worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Samuel P. King, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. For two years starting in 1980, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, D.C. Bennett returned to Hawaii in 1982 and worked as an Assistant United States Attorney, trying major criminal and civil cases in addition to arguing cases on appeal and supervising special assistant attorneys; he remained in this role until 1990. In 1991, Bennett joined the Honolulu-based private practice law firm, McCorriston, Miller, Mukai, & MacKinnon, LLP, where he specialized in complex litigation. Simultaneously during this time he served, pro bono, as both a special deputy attorney general and a special assistant prosecuting attorney, prosecuting two murder cases within Hawaii state court.

Lingle v. Chevron U.S.A (2005)

Bennett represented the petitioners in a case against Chevron, one of Hawaii's largest oil companies, that appeared before the United States Supreme Court in 2005. Chevron had originally filed suit against the state of Hawaii in reaction to a law passed by the state legislature that limited the rent oil companies were able to charge dealers leasing company-owned service stations. The energy corporation argued that this law "amounted to an uncompensated taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment, because it did not substantially advance Hawaii's asserted interest in controlling gas prices."

In the unanimous decision delivered on May 23, 2005, the opinion of the Supreme Court, delivered by Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, declared that, while not disturbing any of its prior holdings, course had to be corrected within the Court by clarifying the 'substantially advances' formula used to determine whether a regulation amounted to a Fifth Amendment taking. Any legal challenges to the Takings Clause have to be "based on the severity of the burden that the regulation imposed upon property rights, not the effectivness of the regulation in furthering the governmental interest."[1]


Bennett currently resides in Honolulu, Hawaii with his wife of over twenty-six years, Patricia Tomi Ohara.


  • Special Achievement Award (1986) from the Attorney General of the United States

External links


Political offices
Preceded by
Earl I. Anzai
Hawaii Attorney General
Succeeded by
David M. Louie