Senators confirm Reifurth as judge


POSTED: Saturday, February 06, 2010

Attorney and former department head Lawrence Reifurth was unanimously confirmed yesterday as a judge on the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals.

The Democratic-controlled Hawaii Senate gave its blessing to Reifurth in a smooth approval process of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle's nominee.

“;There's a lot of work to be done on the court, and I'm looking forward to get going on it,”; Reifurth said after he was confirmed.

Reifurth sat on Lingle's Cabinet as director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for several years before his nomination to the appeals court. He also has been state insurance commissioner, deputy attorney general and a private lawyer.

His easy confirmation came just two days after Ed Kubo won a much more contentious approval from the Senate to become a Circuit Court judge.

“;There was no drama, and we couldn't find any skeletons in his background. We tried,”; said state Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai). “;The only thing we could find in his background that was negative was his overzealous appetite for Chicago pizza.”;

Lingle has appointed five judges to the appellate court, 13 to the Circuit Court and two justices to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Senate Democrats have criticized Lingle for appointing too many prosecuting attorneys and not enough women to judgeships, but they did not hold that against Reifurth.

“;Although he's not a woman and I certainly would have preferred more woman appointees to the bench, that's not something he could control,”; said state Sen. Rosalyn Baker (D, Honokohau-Makena). “;He will bring a vast wealth of experience.”;

Reifurth fills the vacancy created when Lingle named Judge Craig Nakamura to serve as chief judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals.