Opinion Letter No. 03-03
April 1, 2003
Judicial Selection Commission List of Nominees
The Governor and the Chief Justice are not required
to make public the list of six nominees selected
by the Judicial Selection Commission ("JSC") to fill judicial
vacancies ("List of Nominees") after the list
is delivered to them and prior to confirmation of their respective
appointments by the Senate.
While a nominee has a significant privacy interest in being nominated
under section 92F-14(b)(4),
Hawaii Revised Statutes, when weighed against the importance of
a judicial appointment, the public
interest in opening up the workings of government is greater, and
disclosure would not be a clearly
unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under section 92F-13(1),
Hawaii Revised Statutes.
However, the importance of the judicial appointment process necessitates
the conclusion that the
appointing authority may withhold disclosure of the List of Nominees
before the Senate confirms
appointment of an individual from the List of Nominees.
If a List of Nominees is made public before the appointing
authority makes his or her selection, the possibility that interested
groups will "lobby" the appointing authority, either in
favor of or against a nominee, and that the selection process will
be manipulated to circumvent the appointing authority's appointment
power is sufficiently serious.
Such conduct would frustrate a legitimate government
function. Thus, the appointing authority may withhold disclosure
of the List of Nominees to the public under Section 92F-13(3), Hawaii