It’s the Judges, Stupid
by Andrew Walden
Telescope, HC&S, Superferry: Going, going, gone.
Are protesters to blame?
In each case it is action or the impending threat of action by the Hawaii Judiciary which has been decisive.
The State Supreme Court shut down the Hawaii Superferry with a March, 2009 ruling.
The State Supreme Court invalidated permits for the Thirty Meter Telescope in a December, 2015 ruling.
HC&S was hounded for years over its water permits. In late January, Judge Rhonda Nishimura invalidated four of them in a ruling which may now damage agriculture state wide while assisting the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in its drive to extract more cash out of state land leases.
Lets not get caught up in silly suggestions that Hawaii judges are simply enforcing the law. This is all political. Enviros win 90% in the Hawaii Supreme Court. That 90% includes the rent-seeking Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Hawaii judges were once selected by criminal union boss Gary Rodrigues. More recently, judges and supreme court justices were appointed only with the approval of Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee—brother of criminal crony capitalist Al Hee.
How did Clayton Hee select judges? Simple. He looked for evidence of their willingness to make up the kind of rulings we have seen in cases such as the Superferry, telescope and HC&S.
For instance, Supreme Court Justice Mark Rectenwald was elevated to Chief Justice after ICA Judge Katherine Leonard was summarily rejected as a nominee because she said she would be ‘a modest judge’ – in other words she would not make law up as she goes along in order to serve OHA’s rent-seeking campaigns.
The message is clear—If Judge Rhonda Nishimura wants to be elevated to the ICA or Supreme Court, she needs to hand down more rulings like her recent HC&S decision.
But something funny is happening in the Senate.
Clayton Hee is no longer a Senator. Gil Keith-Agaran is now Senate Judiciary Chair—and he has an idea which would shake Hawaii’s corrupt Judiciary to its core—elected judges.
Keith-Agaran’s proposal, embodied in SB2239, is drawing the ire of Bishop Street lawyers and others who profit from the current set-up.
Perhaps incapable of perceiving its own irony, the Hawaii Bar Association testifying against SB2239 points out: “Nothing erodes public confidence in the judiciary more than the belief that justice is ‘bought and paid for’ by particular lawyers, parties or interest groups.”
Of course that is exactly the system we have today. But, thanks to SB2239, the irony-free insiders are worried that their ability to control judges will be eroded by popular elections.
Would you reelect the judge who killed the Superferry?
That is the kind of incentive system Hawaii Judges need.
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