By OSKAR GARCIA
HONOLULU (AP) - Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy says the Senate confirmation for new federal judges is too political and is keeping out highly qualified candidates who don't want to go through the difficult process.
Kennedy told judges gathered in Maui that the Constitution requires Senate confirmation, but the process today is too partisan. He says it makes the judiciary look politicized when it is not.
Kennedy spoke before a group of several hundred judges, lawyers and other court officials at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judicial Conference.
Kennedy defended the conference itself, which has come under scrutiny by some lawmakers who say it should be scaled back or canceled because of costs.
Kennedy says judges and others need to keep learning as part of their oath to protect Americans.