Posted on Mar 19, 1992 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 92-03
March 19, 1992
List of Nominees for Judicial Vacancy

[NOTE:  This opinion was partially overruled by OIP Op. Ltr. No. 03-03 in light of Pray v. Judicial Selection Commission of the State of Hawaii, 75 Haw. 333 (1993).]

The OIP found that the Judicial Selection Commission of the State of Hawaii (Commission) is an agency that is covered by the UIPA. However, the OIP also opined that under the UIPA, the Commission is not required to disclose list(s) of nominees to fill a judicial vacancy that are hand delivered to the governor. The OIP based this conclusion on the fact that: (1) under the State Constitution, the deliberations of the Commission are confidential; (2) under the State Constitution, the Commission was given the power to adopt rules that have “the force and effect of law;” and (3) Commission rules provide that the names of persons nominated by the Commission to fill a judicial vacancy are confidential.

As a result, the OIP found that the lists of judicial nominees delivered to the Governor are protected from required public disclosure under the UIPA’s exception for records that are protected from disclosure by State or federal law.* On the contrary, however, the OIP found that written receipts documenting that the governor received each list of judicial nominees should be made available for public inspection and copying by the Commission upon request after the nominees have been announced. OIP Op. Ltr. No. 92-3 (March 19, 1992)

NOTE: *This portion of the Opinion is overruled by Pray v. Judicial Selection Commission of the State of Hawaii, 75 Haw. 333 (1993). See also OIP Op. Ltr. No. 03-03 (Mar. 31, 2003).

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