HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's political leaders mark the passing of Chief Justice William S Richardson. Excerpts from their statements are below:
"Chief Justice Richardson was a dear brother and friend. Millie and I were close with him and had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with him over the years. CJ was a true Hawaiian man, friendly, humble, and down to earth, though he was a pillar of the community.
"We attended CJ's birthday party nearly every year. Last year, he turned his 90th birthday into a huge fundraiser for the law school. What a fitting example of his generosity: he gave up what turned out to be his final birthday party to help the school and the students he loved so much.
"Among the many things that William S. Richardson will be remembered for are the rulings he made on the Hawaii Supreme Court that reflect Native Hawaiian culture and heritage. One example is his ruling which preserved public access to the shoreline in Hawaii, that no beach could be considered a private beach. As other communities across the country continue to struggle with this issue, this is one of CJ's many rulings that will benefit the people of Hawaii for generations to come."
- US Senator Daniel Akaka
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of William S. Richardson, who embodied public service as an Army veteran, Lieutenant Governor and Chief Justice of the State of Hawaii.
"Chief Justice Richardson's tenure was marked by landmark decisions that recognized Native Hawaiian rights and set precedence in environmental rulings. Through his work to develop the William S. Richardson School of Law, Chief Justice Richardson opened doors for our local residents, including myself, to pursue legal careers and I am forever grateful for his leadership.
"Vivian and I join all the people of Hawaii in offering our deepest condolences to his family, colleagues and the many lives he touched through his distinguished public service career."
- Lt. Governor James "Duke" Aiona
"I first met the Chief Justice Richardson as a fledgling Senator in 1985 when charged with the responsibility and assignment as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The CJ was both tolerant and encouraging at a meeting requested by me to seek the wisdom of members of the Circuit and Supreme court judges and justices. He admonished me to "do what you're going to do and we'll do what we have to do." Bottom line was a mutual respect for the "separation of powers" doctrine. I'll never forget that meeting with Chief Justice William S. Richardson. All of Hawaii owes a very large debt of gratitude to this gentle giant who was a life-long Democrat! CJ, you will be missed!"
- Hawaii Democratic Party Chair Dante Carpenter
"It was very clear to me - that CJ was absolutely a perfect gentleman. He is an astute, capable and completely dedicated individual to the law school. Capable is too mild of a word to describe him. He swore me in as an attorney for the state of Hawaii and for the California bar. I consider that a particular honor. I think because of that, he was forced to remember me and my last name.
It's really hard to describe the affect of being in his presence. His presence is so uplifting, and whenever he gave a speech or received some award, a standing ovation would follow and would go on longer than most."
- Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend. I knew Bill for over 50 years. He fought in the Philippines while I fought in Europe. We became friends shortly after I returned home from World War II and we began our political lives during that time. When I served in the Territorial Legislature, Bill and I would have lunch once a week. He was a soft spoken, decent, and honest man.
As our state's first part-Hawaiian Lieutenant Governor and later as Chief Justice of the Hawaii State Supreme Court, Bill served Hawaii with great distinction. He has been recognized and lauded for his legal scholarship and he worked tirelessly as a champion of all of Hawaii's people. Bill believed that Hawaii belonged to everyone and fought for the public's right to access and enjoy everything Hawaii has to offer. He was a great guy and I will miss him dearly. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."
- US Senator Daniel Inouye
"I join the people of Hawaii in mourning the death of former Chief Justice and Lt. Governor William Richardson. The former Chief Justice played an integral role in shaping Hawaii's political and legal landscape. He will best be remembered for his unwavering advocacy for the establishment a law school at the University of Hawaii. I extend my deepest sympathies to Chief Justice Richardson's family and friends."
- Governor Linda Lingle
"The State of Hawaii has lost a great man today. William Richardson, whom we affectionately called "CJ," was one of the most influential figures in modern day Hawaii as the former Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court. The University of Hawaii Law School that was his dream proudly bears his name and is indeed a fitting tribute to a man of vision and wisdom.
"His influence in interpreting the laws of our land is still strongly felt today. CJ's life of public service has been an inspiration to many who today serve as lawyers and judges, elected office holders and community service leaders.
"Gail and I extend our sincere condolences to the Richardson ohana."
- Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann
"I am deeply saddened to hear that Chief Justice Richardson has passed away. Anyone who has lived in Hawaii the last sixty years knows what a tremendously positive impact he had on our state through his lifetime of service. I had the privilege of knowing the Chief Justice. He was thoughtful, hard-working, humble, and full of aloha. We will all remember his distinctive smile. In addition to the great loss that this is for Hawaii, I will personally miss him. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."
- US Representative Mazie Hirono
"I consider myself fortunate that I was able to get to know CJ Richardson and to have a chance to discuss so many important issues with him. I gained a great deal from his valuable insights on a host of issues facing our state, not the least of which was the rights of Native Hawaiians and the vital importance of preserving our host culture.
"I believe this is a time for us to stop and consider the great impact CJ Richardson had on our state. In the areas of land and water rights, his leadership on the Hawaii Supreme Court helped protect the rights of ordinary people. His advocacy helped ensure the establishment of the law school that bears his name, allowing us to educate lawyers who truly understand local issues. I am proud to be among its graduates. More recently, I often saw him at the law school, lecturing to or meeting with students, to share his lifetime of experience.
"For his generosity, his guidance, and his deep love for Hawaii, we owe William Richardson a great debt. I will miss him."
- Hawaii Senate President Colleen Hanabusa
"Chief Justice William S. Richardson's most outstanding qualities were his kindness, generosity of spirit and his easy manner. No matter how difficult the subject matter or issue, he was always willing to incorporate your views and concerns.
"His court literally defined Hawaii for today's world. It laid the foundation for many outstanding issues facing our islands. While not all are resolved, the path to a conclusion has been clearly lit by the Richardson flame."