FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2011
Honolulu – Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced Judge Sabrina Shizue McKenna as his nomination for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court.
"This is the most important decision I have made in my career,” stated Governor Abercrombie. “This appointment sets the course for the state and its legal direction for the next several years. I am completely confident that Judge McKenna's appointment will be something I'm proud of for the rest of my life."
Judge McKenna, 53, has been serving in First Circuit Court since 1995 and currently serves as the Senior Judge of the Family Court. She formerly served as a District Court judge and previously worked as general counsel to Otaka, Inc. and as an associate at Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel. Judge McKenna also worked as an assistant professor at the University of Hawai‘i’s William S. Richardson School of Law. She has received various honors and awards including: Hawai‘i Women Lawyers Outstanding Judicial Achievement Award; Dr. Martin Luther King Friends Award from the Hawai‘i Friends for Civil Rights; and Hawai‘i Joint Police Association Certification of Distinguished Service.
Having served on numerous legal boards, Judge McKenna oversaw the creation and implementation of Hawai‘i’s first court interpreter certification program.
Judge McKenna holds a B.A. in Japanese from UH-Mânoa, where she was a Rainbow Wahine Basketball player; and is a 1982 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law where she served as Editor-in-Chief of Volume IV of the University of Hawaii Law Review. In 2008, the law school honored her with its Outstanding Alumnus Award and in 2009, UH presented her its Distinguished Alumnus Award.
This nomination fills the vacancy created last year with the appointment of Associate Mark Recktenwald as Chief Justice. The Supreme Court is composed of a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices. Justices are nominated by the Governor from a list of names submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission. A justice's nomination is subject to confirmation by the State Senate. Each justice is initially appointed for a ten year term.