Friday, June 22, 2001

Hawaii attorney
Richard Clifton
chosen for spot on
9th Circuit Court

Hawaii's senators are
noncommittal, so far, if
they'll support him

By Richard Borreca

President George W. Bush nominated Hawaii attorney Richard Clifton to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today.

Clifton is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School and was admitted to the Hawaii bar in 1976.

Local attorney James Duffy had been nominated by President Clinton in 1999 for the position on the federal appeals court, but his name was one of 62 withdrawn by the Bush administration.

Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka this morning said he recently had "a very cordial meeting with Mr. Clifton," but noted that for the past two years he had supported the nomination of Duffy.

Speaking of Duffy, Akaka said "he has the support of the Hawaii Bar Association, whose board of directors characterized him as 'the best of the best' of the Hawaii legal community."

Akaka declined to say if he would support Clifton, who is a Republican.

"I welcome the mana'o (thoughts or thinking) of Hawaii's legal community. Pending this review, I will reserve judgment and further comment," Akaka said.

Clifton, who has served as the attorney for the gubernatorial campaigns of both Linda Lingle and Pat Saiki, was nominated by both Lingle and state Rep. Barbara Marumoto, (R-Kahala).

Hawaii's other senator, Daniel Inouye, also met with Clifton recently. He wouldn't say if he would support the nomination.

"I believe it would be grossly inappropriate to make any comment without the further information from the nominee," Inouye said.

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