HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mark Recktenwald told the Senate Judiciary Committee he's indebted to the man he wants to succeed, retiring Chief Justice Ronald Moon.
"Chief Justice Moon has left a sound foundation for the new chief justice to build upon. And there are many opportunities to find ways to be more efficient and effective in fulfilling our mission," he said.
Governor Lingle nominated Recktenwald after her previous choice, appeals Judge Katherine Leonard, failed to gain Senate support.
Testimony for Recktenwald was overwhelmingly positive.
"He's undeniably one of the best thinkers and writers in Hawaii today," Lingle's senior policy advisor Linda Smith said.
"He's the very essence of what we want to have in a chief justice," defense attorney Brook Hart said.
But attorney Daphne Barbie spoke against Recktenwald over opinions he issued as an associate justice
"I'm not saying Justice Recktenwald is a bad man. But I am saying if you're going to promote someone to chief justice ask these hard questions. Don't just put on a lei and smile," she said.
On Monday, the Hawaii State Bar Association gave him a thumbs up.
"A majority of the board voted Mr. Recktenwald qualified for the position of chief justice of our Supreme Court," HSBA president Hugh Jones said.
Recktenwald was an assistant US Attorney, chief judge on the Intermediate Court of Appeals, and director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs before joining Hawaii's Supreme Court.
"I think a judge has to be open, has to be fair in applying the law, and I don't think a judge should come in with a preconceived idea. That this is how I view things," he said.
Recktenwald told the committee if confirmed he'll promote electronic court filing and appoint judges that reflect Hawaii's diversity.
On Sept. 2 the Senate will vote on whether he'll become Hawaii's next chief justice.