SA: King's influence vital to 'Broken Trust'
"Sam was particularly incensed at the role of the members of the (state) Supreme Court at the time in what we all considered a kind of conspiratorial effort to control the estate."
In a 1998 interview with the Honolulu Advertiser, King said that although he believed his father was a good trustee, his doubts about the appointment of trustees stretched back to the days after he graduated from law school.
"There were lots of things that people thought were wrong with Bishop Estate -- how they (the trustees) were selected, how they behaved, what they were doing with their investments, how they were handling education," he said in 1998.
"But as (former Hawaii Gov. Benjamin) Cayetano put it (after he ordered a state investigation), everybody figured, 'Well, if the Hawaiians themselves who are involved aren't upset, who are we to upset them?'
"The difference this time is that the Hawaiians got upset first. And actually that's why I'm in it, as a part-Hawaiian and as having been aware of all these things before."
SA: 'Great judge,' 'great man'
In 1970, he ran for governor as a Republican, but lost to John A. Burns. "I got lucky," he used to say. "I lost."
In 1972, President Richard Nixon appointed King to the U.S. District Court, where he handled a range of high-profile cases, including the organized crime trials of Wilford "Nappy" Pulawa and Earl Kim during the 1970s.
It was during the jury selection of one of Pulawa's trials that a potential juror said she had to leave for Maui the next day. "Here today, gone to Maui," King quipped.
Part-Hawaiian, King also presided over the trespass trials of Walter Ritte and other activists who went to Kahoolawe in an attempt to halt the Navy bombing of the island.
King also rendered a landmark decision to uphold the Hawaii Land Reform Act of 1967 allowing the owners of single-family homes to buy the fee interest in their leased land.
His decision was reversed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"That was a huge thing," said University of Hawaii law professor David Callies.
Rep Charles Djou:
Washington, DC — Congressman Charles K. Djou (HI-01) issued the following statement after learning of U.S. District Court Judge Sam King’s passing:
“I am sorry to learn of Judge King's passing. He was a leader in Hawaii law, politics and a family friend. Hawaii will miss his presence on the bench and his voice in our community.”
Congressman Djou's wife, Stacey, served as Judge King's law clerk from 1997-1998.
Randall Roth: HNN
"He was my hero and my best friend," University of Hawaii Law Professor Randy Roth said Tuesday night.
King and Roth co-authored the book Broken Trust. It chronicled abuses of power by trustees of the Bishop Estate in the 1990's.
"He was as smart as anyone I've ever known and there are a lot of people with his ability and his experiences that would maybe occasionally feel a little full of themselves and Sam just wasn't that way. He just really liked anybody and everybody and was sensitive to everybody's feelings. He was just a good man. He cared about people. And he cared about justice. As a judge lawyers knew there weren't going to be any games in the courtroom. The rules were clear and where the judge was coming from and why he was ruling was just quite clear. He had a nice sense of humor that people appreciated. He was wise in addition to being smart and fiercely proud of his Hawaiian ancestry and yet when it came time to make tough legal decisions, he was guided by the law. I mean he never played favorites," Roth told Hawaii News Now.
HR: Hawaii Loses Shining Star, Judge Sam King, at 94
Courageous men like Samuel King are rare – even rarer in Hawaii’s small island community where most are afraid to offend or be retaliated against….
While many prominent people will likely be making some well-deserved compliments about him in the coming days, the best way to honor Judge Sam King is to read his book, remember his message and teachings, and when its time to stand up for something important – do so – with dignity and honor.
Shapiro: R.I.P. Sam King
It took guts for him to speak out on the Bishop Estate as a sitting judge, but he was passionate about the welfare of Hawaiian beneficiaries and considered it his duty.
King fought hard for what he believed in, but he was an honorable gentleman — the kind we need more of in today’s toxic political environment— who always fought fair.
I was sitting next to him in a panel discussion on the Bishop Estate when Henry Peters, one of the trustees that “Broken Trust” helped to bring down, made a surprise appearance in the audience and launched into a long-winded defense of his actions.
King had more class than to deny the man his say, but I could hear his soft mutterings to himself as he countered every claim Peters made in a line of private rebuttal that was simply brilliant in its insight and logic.
As was the case throughout the Bishop Estate controversy, Peters had no idea of the extent to which he was being sliced and diced by a greater mind with a moral compass that was true.
It would be a major step toward a better Hawai‘i if we all took a moment to reflect on how to each be a little more like Sam King.
Governor Neil Abercrombie released the following statement today on the passing of Judge Samuel P. King:
“Judge King was the heart and soul of Hawaii. He was a friend and a mentor to all who loved Hawaii. Judge King’s rollicking sense of humor – his deep capacity not to take himself seriously while taking Hawaii seriously – set a standard that few, if any, could match. His idea of what was good for Hawaii was an extension of his deep understanding of pono, of doing what’s right.”