Senate votes 23-1 to confirm Mike Wilson to High Court

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Mar 17 2014 06:19:30 PM HST
Updated On: Mar 17 2014 08:29:56 PM HST

A campaign of shadows and whispers is how one lawmaker described what threatened to derail the nomination of Mike Wilson to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

HONOLULU -

It was all smiles and flowers after the vote.

But it took not just one, but two marathon confirmation hearings before Judge Michael Wilson was elevated to the high court.

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's story.

"President Kim and the senators have been kind and patient. They have treated and fairness and with due process," said Wilson.

But Wilson declined to say much about the process, which some called flawed and shameful. 

Throughout the hearings, concerns were raised about his personal and professional conduct.

It was the Senate womens’ caucus which asked for a rare second hearing to scrutinize the complaints about Wilson's treatment of women,

In the end, only one lawmaker voted against his confirmation, in part because Wilson failed to disclose he dated an attorney on a case where he was acting as a substitute judge.

"There are too many questions surrounding this nominee for me to conclude that he represents the best and brightest and most diligent. I have to vote no," said Sen. Rosalyn Baker.

"Some of the information that was alleged was on this day Madame President was purely blarney. What we saw of the last two weeks were hushed whispers and alleged confidentiality was a public colonoscopy of a judge who deserves better," said Sen. Sam Slom.

"There is no reason, or in fact, every reason to agree to consent to his nominations based on every effort we have made sincere effort to try and find every wart," said Sen. Clayton Hee.

The Hawaii Bar Association rated Wilson unqualified to serve on the high bench and initially declined to say why.

Lawmakers were not able to review his personal records to help them in their vote.

Sens. Michelle Kidani and Laura Thielen voted yes with reservations, in the absence of any real evidence to back up the complaints.

"It’s important to maintain is to keep a confidential process for people to bring forward confidential information. What we need to focus on is how do we better weigh and validate, verify the information that comes forward in that confidential manner because we do have to be fair to the nominees as well," said Thielen.

Wilson is expected to be sworn in to the 10-year appointment within the next month.
He replaces Judge Simeon Acoba who faces mandatory retirement at age 70.

 

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