Morita v. GorakAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held in this case that the governor was permitted to make an interim appointment when the term of an official who is statutorily permitted to holdover expires and the senate is not in session.
Michael Champley's term as commissioner of the Hawai'i Public Utilities Commission was set to expire on June 30, 2016. The 2016 legislative session ended on May 5, 2016 without the governor submitting a nomination for a new commission to replace Champley. On June 28, 2016, Champley stated that he intended to continue to serve as "holdover" commissioner until his successor was appointed and confirmed by the senate. The next day, however, the governor announced that he intended to exercise his constitutional authority to temporarily fill the vacancy to appoint Thomas Goran to replace Champley following the expiration of Champley's term. Plaintiff filed a complaint and quo warranty petition against Gorak and the State, alleging that no vacancy existed, and therefore, the interim appointment power of the governor was not implicated. The circuit court granted Gorak's motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a vacancy existed upon the expiration of Champley's term as commissioner, and therefore, the governor was entitled to appoint Goran on an interim basis.