(BIVN) – Two nominees to the U.S. District Court for Hawai‘i, both with ties to the Aloha State, appeared before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday. Both nominees had the support of the two U.S. Senators from Hawaiʻi.
Micah Smith and Judge Shanlyn Park were praised by Senator Brian Schatz (D, Hawaiʻi) and Senator Mazie Hirono (D, Hawaiʻi). Hirono also sits on the Judiciary Committee.
“Judge Park was born and raised in Hawaii where her distinguished career has been spent almost entirely in public service, inspired no doubt by her father’s work as a longtime Honolulu police officer,” said Hirono during her introduction of Park. “As a judge, she has earned high marks from practitioners and litigants for her evenhanded approach and well-reasoned decisions. Judge Park is held in high regard in the Hawaii legal community, as demonstrated by letters of support the Committee has received.” Hirono noted that when confirmed, Judge Park will become the first Native Hawaiian woman to serve as a federal district court judge.
Of Micah Smith, Senator Hirono said: “Micah has an impressive legal career. Micah spent four years at O’Melveny & Myers, where he helped author a brief in U.S. v. Jones, a pivotal 4th Amendment case. He then became a federal prosecutor, a job he has held for the last 12 years. Even with all his success, Micah never forgot where he came from.”
“I know that both of these nominees have the kind of experience, temperament, and demonstrated commitment to public service, along with their deep roots in Hawaii, which will make them excellent judges in the Hawaii District Court,” concluded Senator Hirono.
Senator Brian Schatz also provided his own introduction of the nominees. Here are his full remarks:
Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Graham, members of the committee: I’m proud to support the nominations of Micah Smith and Judge Shanlyn Park to serve as judges on the U.S. District Court in Hawai‘i. Both of them are exceptionally qualified and I appreciate the opportunity to help introduce them to this committee.
Micah Smith’s story is a quintessentially American one. The son of an immigrant, he grew up in a housing project on Kaua‘i attending public schools before going to Lock Haven University where he graduated with top honors and later to Harvard Law School.
For the past 11 years, he has served as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, first in the renowned Southern District of New York and more recently in the District of Hawai‘i where he serves as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.
Those who know him often highlight his abiding sense of fairness and balanced temperament. A colleague noted, “he listens and considers carefully before voicing his opinion,” adding that he has “an unwavering commitment to achieve a better system of justice that provides access to justice for all.”
That same commitment to equal justice underpinned Judge Shanlyn Park’s two decades as a public defender giving voice to those most in need. A graduate of the University of Hawai‘i’s Richardson School of Law, she represented low-income defendants on a variety of complex cases, earning a reputation among colleagues and opposing counsel alike as a highly-skilled, compassionate, and solutions-oriented attorney. And she has brought her integrity and sound judgement to the bench since becoming a state court judge in 2021.
In supporting her nomination, a former boss remarked, “the law is more than a job for Shanlyn,” calling her “a great ambassador for the law.”
Judge Park’s credentials are impressive by any measure. But the historic nature of her nomination should not be lost on anyone. If confirmed, she would be the first Native Hawaiian woman to serve on the federal bench.
They have the legal acumen as well as the character and temperament required to fulfill the duties of U.S. District Court judges. It’s for these reasons that I’m proud to support their nominations to the federal bench. Thank you.