Saturday, June 5, 2004

3 in running for
fed judgeship

Ted Hong is the most controversial
of the trio submitted by Lingle
for the post

A member of the Lingle administration whose nomination as a state judge was rejected by the Senate is among three people whose names were submitted for a federal court judgeship in Honolulu.

Lingle named Mark Bennett, Attorney General; Ted Hong, state chief negotiator, and Michael Seabright, Assistant U.S. attorney, according to the administration.

The position opened up after attorney Fritz Rohlfing withdrew his nomination after waiting more than two years for confirmation.

Federal judicial nominations are made by the President, but the White House asked Lingle, a Republican, to submit the names of three for the position.

Hong is the most controversial of the three potential nominees. A Democrat who supported Lingle in the 2002 election, Hong served as the state’s chief negotiator in labor negotiations with the public employee unions.

He was an interim member of the University of Hawaii board of regents, during which time he had criticized Evan Dobelle, UH president.

Hong was then nominated by Lingle this year to the state circuit court in Hilo. The senate rejected the nomination on a 13-12 vote, with several senators saying that Hong lacked the judicial temperament for the post. The Hawaii Bar Association also said Hong lacked judicial temperament.

Bennett is a former partner with McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon and had been the lawyer for both the state Republican Party and Lingle’s campaign.

Seabright has served as a prosecutor for the U.S. attorney and been involved in several high profile federal cases, including the prosecution of former senator Milton Holt and the late Danny Kihano, former speaker of the house.

Seabright also was involved in the prosecution of Lokelani Lindsey, the former Bishop Estate trustee, convicted of laundering money. He also prosecuted the Honolulu Liquor Commission bribery case in which six former investigators pleaded guilty and two were convicted by a jury.


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