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State of Hawaii

Methods of Judicial Selection: Hawaii

Judicial Nominating Commissions

The judicial selection commission reviews and evaluates applicants for all judicial vacancies and submits a list of four to six names to the governor. (For vacancies on the district and family courts, a list of at least six names is submitted to the chief justice.) The commission also determines whether judges should be retained in office upon the expiration of their terms. Judges must notify the commission within six months of the expiration of their term that they plan to seek retention. The commission solicits public comment and interviews those who have had contact with the judge. The judge completes a questionnaire and is interviewed by the full commission. A judge must receive at least five favorable votes to be retained.

The commission consists of nine members, no more than four of whom may be lawyers. The governor appoints two members, only one of whom may be an attorney. The president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives each appoint two members to the commission. The chief justice appoints one commission member, and the Hawaii State Bar Association selects two lawyer members. Commission members serve staggered six-year terms, and members are limited to one term. Click here to view the commission's rules.

 For more information, see Judicial Merit Selection: Current Status.

Nominating Commission Costs

  • $93,843 (2007)