Friday, April 01, 2011
Abercrombie’s “birth certificate” problem—why won’t he show the judicial selection list?
by Larry Geller
Governor Neil Abercrombie has his own “birther” problem. It seems people really, really want to see the names on Abercrombie’s judicial selection list. And the longer he refuses, the hotter the controversy seem to become. It’s also become something of a lens that magnifies the darker side of our new governor. For example:
Former Chief Justice Ronald Moon released the candidate list and sought public comment before appointing District Court judges as does current Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and said it provided valuable insights on candidates that he couldn't have gotten by other means.
But Abercrombie said he has no use for public input. "The public doesn't pick the judge," he said. "I do."
The state Supreme Court, the Hawaii chapter of American Judicature Society and the state Office of Information Practices have all said there is no merit in the notion that secrecy produces better judges, and argued for transparency.
The governor's claim of a proprietary right to pick judges out of public view has a ring of arrogance. He has nobody but himself to blame when it breeds suspicion that his motive is not better candidates, but cover from which to hand out judgeships to personal and political friends.
[Volcanic Ash, Secretive judicial selections hinder trust in Abercrombie, 3/30/2011]
David Shapiro’s column in the newspaper is complete by itself, but newsprint has its limitations in this Internet age. Not so the on-line version. Comments attached to this article are a must-read, and illustrate the charges of cronyism that are only building up against the Governor as long as he sits on his selection list.
Read about the web of cronyism around Tony Takitani, described as the chief strategist.of Abercrombie’s campaign, appointee Joe Wildman who works at law firm of Takitani & Agaran (yes, the very same Keith-Agaran who has just been embroiled in the SB671 gift-grabbing controversy). Enough name dropping—click over to David’s column and catch up with the news on this controversy that won’t go away.
Governor Abercrombie's explanation seemed reasonable to me. In order to open up judgeships to more than just State employees it was necessary to keep the list confidential. I would like to hear the other side of this issue.
I know both Tony Takitani and Gil Keith-Agaran and they are good people, very intelligent and educated and hard workers for the betterment of Maui and Hawai'i.
If Abercrombie has people like them as "cronies" I say he has pretty good judgment - since both work hard for us.
I voted for Gil Agaran, he's my State Rep and I am thrilled with his work on our behalf.
Even if Abercrombie, Takitani, and Agaran are 'good people', we the people should still have the right to see how is being submitted and considered for judgeships. Are up folks saying we should just 'trust the governor' to do the right thing? What about the next Governor? or the previous Governor?