Gov. David Ige responded Friday to criticism of one of his picks for Oahu Circuit Court judge.

On Thursday, we told you the governor appointed attorney Keith Hiraoka, a good friend of his who even served as his campaign chair. Hiraoka would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former Circuit Judge Karen Ahn in June 2016.

The governor had to choose from a list provided to him by the judicial selection commission, so some question if Ige is being fair in choosing his buddy.

“I can certainly see how people feel that way,” the governor said. “I would just like to note the judicial selection commission is independent. I’ve nominated one of nine members on the commission. They felt he was qualified on all of the lists.”

Keith Hiraoka (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)

Hiraoka, 58, has practiced law since 1983. In recent years, his primary areas of practice have been insurance coverage and representing attorneys, accountants, realtors and other professionals who have been sued. He has tried cases before juries, judges and arbitrators, participated in many mediations and briefed and argued appeals before the Hawaii Supreme Court, the Intermediate Court of Appeals and the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gov. Ige also appointed family court judge Catherine Remigio and defense attorney Todd Eddins to circuit court benches.

Remigio, 51, would fill the vacancy created by the Aug. 2016 retirement of former Circuit Judge Steven S. Alm. She was appointed to Family Court in 2011.

Eddins, 52, would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former Circuit Judge Richard K. Perkins in June 2016. He worked as a trial lawyer at the Office of the Public Defender for more than 10 years. In private practice, he has concentrated on complex civil, criminal, and appellate litigation.

All three appointees need Senate confirmation before they’re sworn in.