Isle lawyer eyedBy Gregg K. Kakesako
for 9th Circuit
Honolulu attorney James E. Duffy is under "serious consideration" for one of 28 seats on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The FBI and the American Bar Association are doing a background check on Duffy, 56.
His name was submitted by Hawaii's senior senator, Democrat Daniel K. Inouye.
Inouye told the Star-Bulletin today that Duffy's name has been cleared by the White House and "he should have very little problem" passing the FBI and ABA checks and confirmation by the Senate.
"I have had preliminary discussions with the (Judiciary) committee," Inouye said."He (Duffy) has a good reputation."
Sidney Ayabe, past president of the 3,715-member Hawaii State Bar Association, said,"This is an excellent appointment. He is a well-respected individual in the legal community and will certainly have strong support from the members of the bar."
Carol Mon Lee, associate dean of the University of Hawaii's law school, said, "He will be an excellent judge."
Five years ago, Inouye recommended state Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert Klein for the same post.
Klein was interviewed by the White House and Justice Department, but after no action was taken on the nomination, he removed his name from consideration in December.
Proposed for the same job was state Attorney General Margery Bronster, who declined because of her heavy case load, including the Bishop Estate investigation.
Hawaii has not been represented on the panel -- which covers nine Western states, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands -- since Judge Herbert Choy reached senior judge status in 1984.
Duffy has been the senior partner in the law firm that bears his name -- Fujiyama, Duffy and Fujiyama -- for the past 25 years.
He received his undergraduate degree from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and his law degree in 1968 from the Marquette University School of Law.
In 1997, Inouye and Hawaii's other senator, Democrat Daniel Akaka, authored a law that requires each state in the federal appellate district to have at least one judge.