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Senate Formally Rejects Gov. David Ige's Court of Appeals Nominee

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The state Senate formally rejected Gov. David Ige's appointment of Daniel Gluck to the Hawaiʻi Intermediate Court of Appeals after Gluck expressed his desire to withdraw from the process.

Gluck said he spoke with Ige and Senate President Ron Kouchi about withdrawing his appointment. But if he withdrew, "it would have created confusion as to how the next appointment would be made," he said in a statement Thursday.

"My understanding, therefore, is that the Senate had to proceed with a vote," Gluck said. "I hope that, by indicating my desire to withdraw from this process, today’s vote can be less divisive for the Senate and Hawaiʻi as a whole."

Because it was not a formal withdrawal, his nomination went to a full vote before the Senate, which voted 17-6 against Gluck.

Another factor in the votes against Gluck was the recommendation of the Senate Judiciary Committee — they voted 4-3 against Gluck on Wednesday. The committee heard four hours of testimony Tuesday about Gluck, the current executive director of the Hawaiʻi State Ethics Commission.

The testimony was not so much against Gluck as a judicial appointee, but against the nomination process that has left a lack of representation of women and persons of color on Hawaiʻi’s highest courts.

Critics questioned Ige’s choice of Gluck, a white man, for the job, noting it’s been 30 years since a Native Hawaiian was appointed to the appeals court and 20 since a Native Hawaiian was appointed to the Supreme Court.

Gluck's supporters noted his keen legal mind, his dedication to social justice, his ability to mediate disputes, and his fairness. Gluck also received the support of the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association and judicial heavyweights such as state Attorney General Clare Connors and retired Associate Justice James E. Duffy, Jr. of the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court.

Ige selected Gluck from a shortlist vetted by the state Judicial Selection Commission, which included four women, three of whom are Native Hawaiian, and two men, one Filipino and one white.

The governor now has until Aug. 8 to make another selection from the remaining five nominees: Lance D. Collins, Summer M. M. Kupau-Odo, Sonja M.P. McCullen, Malia E. Schreck, and Taryn R. Tomasa Gifford. The public is welcome to submit comments to the governor about any of those nominees.

"The other nominees on the list have extraordinarily impressive credentials; any one of them can, and will, serve the ICA with distinction," Gluck said. "I am deeply saddened that I cannot serve as an ICA judge. I am sincerely grateful, however, that – through this process – our legislators have indicated their unwavering support for social justice."

He said he hopes to continue serving the Hawaiʻi community for many years to come. Ige said Gluck "will continue to be a voice for the underserved, no matter what his formal position."

Gluck has been practicing law for 18 years and has served Hawaiʻi's communities as a law professor at the University of Hawaiʻi, legal director at the ACLU Hawaiʻi, and as the head of Hawaiʻi State Ethics Commission. Originally from New York, Gluck graduated from Cornell University and Harvard Law School.

Sophia McCullough is a digital news producer. Contact her at news@hawaiipublicradio.org.
Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her Native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has led her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station. Send your story ideas to her at khiraishi@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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