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Former Hawaii attorney general confirmed to US Court of Appeals

HONOLULU (KHON2) - A former Hawaii attorney general is the newest judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nomination of Honolulu attorney Mark J. Bennett Tuesday in a 72-27 vote Tuesday.

Bennett was nominated to the court on Feb. 15, and appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 11. His nomination was reported to the Senate floor on May 10.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, introduced Bennett at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, and said following his confirmation:

“Mark is recognized as one of the best qualified lawyers in the State of Hawaii. He has served as a federal prosecutor, as our state’s Attorney General, and in private practice. I have every confidence that Mark will put his skills and experience to good use on the bench as a fair and impartial judge, beholden to nothing but the law and the Constitution.”

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said:

“I am very pleased to see Mark Bennett confirmed with a decisive bipartisan vote in the Senate. This is the way the process is supposed to work. I’ve known Mark for many years, going back to when I served in the Hawaii State Legislature and he served as the state attorney general. Even though we were on different sides of the aisle, Mark was never difficult to work with, because he never had a partisan agenda. Instead, he approached every issue by focusing on the substance and how we could make things better for Hawaii. Because Mark made the effort to understand where others were coming from, we were able to find common ground. He will make an outstanding judge.”

Bennett will fill a judgeship vacant since Dec. 31, 2016, when Judge Richard R. Clifton of Honolulu assumed senior status. He will maintain chambers in Honolulu.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Bennett had been director of Starn, O’Toole, Marcus & Fisher in Honolulu. He served as attorney general of Hawaii from 2003 to 2010.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hears appeals of cases decided by executive branch agencies and federal trial courts in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. The court normally meets monthly in Seattle, Washington; San Francisco, California; and Pasadena, California; every other month in Portland, Oregon; three times per year in Honolulu, Hawaii; and twice a year in Anchorage, Alaska.


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