Governor Lingle had a significant impact on the Hawai‘i Judiciary with the appointment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, and more than half of the Circuit Court judges.
During her eight years in office, Governor Lingle appointed:
- Two of the five justices on the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.
- Five of the six judges on the Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals, including Chief Judge Craig Nakamura.
- Seventeen of the 33 Circuit Court judges.
Governor Lingle was able to bring more balance to the courts by appointing more individuals with prosecutorial backgrounds. Previously, most appointments to the Judiciary were public defenders.
Governor Lingle made the selection process for judges more open and transparent by making nominees’ names available to the public for comment before final selection. Previously, the Judicial Selection Committee sent the names of nominees to the governor, who made his selection without the public knowing whose names were on the list and without an opportunity to provide input.