Supreme Court of Hawaii Decisions

The Hawaii Supreme Court has existed since 1841. Most of the cases that it reviews consist of appeals from decisions in lower state courts or federal courts. These may reach the Supreme Court as reserved or certified questions, or as writs of certiorari. The Court oversees the legal profession in the state and holds exclusive jurisdiction over matters related to the discipline of attorneys and judges. It also holds the exclusive authority to set rules that control procedures in lower state courts, and it has exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving elections.

Five justices serve on the Hawaii Supreme Court. Rather than electing justices, the state uses an assisted appointment method. This means that the Hawaii Judicial Selection Commission compiles a list of candidates for the review of the Governor. Once the Governor chooses a candidate from the list, the Hawaii State Senate must confirm the candidate before they can take their seat on the Court. The Chief Justice may be chosen from current members of the Court, but they also must be selected by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Each justice serves for a 10-year term, after which the Judicial Selection Commission will decide whether to renew the term. Any candidate to serve on the Court must be a resident of Hawaii who has been licensed to practice law for at least 10 years before their appointment. Justices may not hold any other political office or actively practice law while they serve. They must be under 70 years old when they are appointed, and current justices must retire at 70.

A justice may be removed from the Hawaii Supreme Court only if the Judicial Selection Commission decides not to renew their term or if the Commission on Judicial Conduct in the Hawaii State Judiciary recommends their removal. The Commission on Judicial Conduct investigates allegations of misconduct or unfitness. The Supreme Court will make the final decision on whether to remove a justice if the Commission recommends their removal.

Browse Opinions From the Supreme Court of Hawaii

Recent Decisions From the Supreme Court of Hawaii
Barrett v. Thomas
Date: September 30, 2022
Docket Number: SCPW-22-0000575
State v. Narvaez
Date: September 29, 2022
Docket Number: SCWC-20-0000461
State v. Obrero
Date: September 28, 2022
Docket Number: SCAP-21-0000576
Massey v. First Circuit Court
Date: September 28, 2022
Docket Number: SCPW-22-0000487
Hughes v. State
Date: September 28, 2022
Docket Number: SCWC-17-0000048
State v. Ibarra
Date: September 28, 2022
Docket Number: SCWC-19-0000697
State v. Talo
Date: September 28, 2022
Docket Number: SCWC-20-0000565
Jones v. Brady
Date: September 28, 2022
Docket Number: SCWC-21-0000220
Francis v. First Circuit Court
Date: September 27, 2022
Docket Number: SCPW-22-0000455
Poaha v. Logan
Date: September 26, 2022
Docket Number: SCPW-22-0000522
Kia’i Wai O Wai’Ale’Ale v. Dep't of Water, County of Kaua'i  
Date: September 23, 2022
Docket Number: SCAP-20-0000487

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the environmental court's orders granting partial summary judgment and the ensuing order entering final judgment in favor of the Department of Water, County of Kaua'i (KDOW) in this transfer…

Deutsche Bank National Trust Company v. Yata
Date: September 23, 2022
Docket Number: SCWC-18-0000922
Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Nelson
Date: September 20, 2022
Docket Number: SCAD-22-0000493
The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.