Hawaii lawyers group says Wilson 'unqualified' for Supreme Court

Published: Mar. 5, 2014 at 11:22 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii State Bar Association has given State Supreme Court nominee Michael Wilson an "unqualified" rating.

The local attorneys' organization does not release the reasons for its ratings of candidates for the bench or what the vote was of its board that makes the assessments.

Wilson, who's been a state judge for the last 13 years, appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday morning for his confirmation hearing.

State Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the judiciary panel, said the bar association's rating matters "because it generally gives senators who want to vote 'no' cover and a reason to vote 'no.'"

There are a few senators who have expressed reservations about Wilson's appointment, Hee said.

Reached for comment late Wednesday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office released this statement: "Judge Michael Wilson was chosen from a list of six nominees selected by the Judicial Selection Committee. I share the Commission's confidence that Judge Wilson has the experience and leadership to serve as an effective Supreme Court Justice for the State of Hawaii."

When Abercrombie nominated Wilson to the Supreme Court Feb. 18, he called him a "well-respected leader" on and off the bench.

Before becoming a judge, Wilson was chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources, a commissioner for the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission and executive director for the state Division of Consumer Advocacy.

Wilson, a longtime environmental activist, ran unsuccessfully for Honolulu mayor in 1992.  A graduate of Kailua High School, Wilson earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree from the Antioch School of Law.

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