Chair Keith-Agaran, Vice Chair Rhoads, members of the House Judiciary Committee,
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports parts of this proposed constitutional
amendment and takes no position on part of it.
We are totally committed to transparency in government to assure the public that the actions of government are above reproach. At the same time, we are aware that there are instances where the negative consequences of certain revelations can be detrimental to the programs' objectives. We are not suggesting that this necessarily applies to our reservations to part of this bill.
We fully support part of the amendment that would provide that the Judicial Selection Commission shall disclose the names of nominees to fill any justice or judge vacancies. The disclosure of statistical information that serves the public interest including but not limited to the total number, gender, and experience is fine. We are assuming that the “total number” refers to the total number of applicants.
While we understand the value of listing all of the names of all of the applicants including those that are nominated, to assure the public that the selections were based on merit alone, we have not done any kind of study on the negative consequences of revealing the names of all of the applicants. We are aware of reasons advanced in opposition to that practice, but would need much more study to be able to take any position on this.
Therefore, the League of Women Voters strongly supports the disclosure of the names of all nominees by the Judicial Selection Commission accompanied by the suggested information on each nominee at the same time the names are sent to the Governor or the Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court. We do have reservations about including the names of all applicants at this time.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify on SB 2209.