Supreme Court of Hawaii
Judicial Selection Method: Hybrid
5 Justices
10 year terms
State High Court & Judicial Nominating Commission Composition & Terms of Judicial Nominating Commission Judicial Selection Process Legal Authority
9 members*:

  • 2 appointed by Governor
    • Only 1 can be attorney
  • 2 appointed by Speaker of the House
  • 2 appointed by President of the Senate
  • 1 appointed by Chief Justice
  • 2 elected by the Hawaii state bar

*Only 4 total may be lawyers

Terms: 6 years (staggered)


  • Commission submits a list of at least four but no more than six nominees from which the Governor must choose one.
  • The Governor’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate.
  • At least six months prior to the expiration of a Justice’s term, the Justice may petition the Judicial Selection Commission to be retained in office.
  • If the Judicial Selection Commission determines that the Justice should be retained, the Commission shall renew the term of office of the Justice or Judge for a period of ten years or another period provided by law.

Interim Vacancies

  • The Governor, with the consent of the senate, fills vacancies in the office of the chief justice, supreme court, intermediate appellate court and circuit courts, by appointing a person from a list of not less than four, and not more than six, nominees for the vacancy, presented to the Governor by the judicial selection commission.

Percentage of Lawyers on the Nominating Commission

Who Selects the Nominating Commissioners?
  • Judicial Election

    Judges are elected by popular vote.
  • Democratic Appointment

    Judges are appointed directly by a democratic body, or appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of some democratic body.