Governor Selects Judge McKenna as Supreme Court Nominee

January 25, 2011, 2:15 PM HST · Updated January 25, 9:10 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced his nomination of Judge Sabrina Shizue McKenna as his nominee for the Associate Justice post on the Hawaii Supreme Court. The position fills the vacancy created last year with the appointment of Associate Justice Mark Recktenwald as Chief Justice.

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“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,” said Gov. Abercrombie.

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Judge McKenna, 53, has been serving in First Circuit Court since 1995 and currently serves as the Senior Judge of the Family Court. She previously served as a District Court judge, and also 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 where she graduated from in 1982.

She has received numerous honors and accolades 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

McKenna’s nomination is for a 10 year term and is still subject to State Senate confirmation.

(Supporting information courtesy Office of the Governor)

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