East Hawaii News

Senators Send Nominations for District Court Opening

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Three Hawai’i candidates were recommended to the White House by Senator Mazie Hirono and Senator Brian Schatz for the open United States District Court Judgeshup for the District of Hawai’i.

Senators Hirono and Schatz recommended Clare Connors, David Louie, and Jill Otake for the position that will proceed Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway’s transition to senior judge in November.

The Senators created the Federal Judicial Selection Commission in March, which is made up of seven members, three picked by each Senator and a chair that they chose together. The three candidates for the judicial position were picked following the Selection Commission’s review of over 30 applicants.

In a letter to U.S. President Barrack Obama, Senator Hirono and Senator Schatz outlined their selection progress:


“We arrived at these recommendations after creating a commission of distinguished members of the Hawai’i bar and tasking them with receiving and screening applications. From the applications the commission received, a short list of candidates was submitted to our offices for interviews.  The commission’s review process, coupled with our own interviews, helped us identify individuals with outstanding qualifications who we believe would make excellent nominees to the court.”

Louise Ing, Chair of the Federal Judicial Commission said, “It has been an honor to serve as Chair of this prestigious commission. We took the selection of Hawai’i’s next Federal District Court nominee very seriously and we are pleased with the qualification and diverse backgrounds of the final candidates. The Federal Judicial Selection Commission will proudly stand behind the eventual nominee for Federal District Judge to represent our state and replace Judge Susan Mollway.”

Connors began her legal career in 2001. She is a trial attorney who began with the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She served as the Honorable Judge David Ezra’s clerk in 2002 when he served as a federal district court judge. Connors later returned to Hawai’i, where she served as an Assistant United States Attorney and moved over to civil litigation.


Louie has practiced exclusively in Hawai’i with focus on civil litigation. In 2011, he became the Attorney General for the State of Hawai’i and remained in the position until 2014.

Otake spent most of her legal career in criminal litigation, serving as a prosecuting attorney. She began her career in King County, Wash. as a deputy prosecuting attorney. Otake worked as a clerk for Hawai’i State Supreme Court Justice Simeon Acoba but later returned to Washington, where she served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for Washington State. She currently is an Assistant U.S. Attorney for Hawai’i, a position she has held since 2014.

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