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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 8, 2010

Reifurth unanimously OK'd as state appeals court judge

Advertiser Staff

Attorney and former department head Lawrence Reifurth has been unanimously confirmed as a judge on the Hawai'i Intermediate Court of Appeals.

The state Senate gave its blessing to Reifurth in a smooth approval process of Gov. Linda Lingle's nominee.

"There's a lot of work to be done on the court, and I'm looking forward to get going on it," Reifurth said after he was confirmed on Friday.

Reifurth sat on Lingle's Cabinet as the director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for several years before his nomination to the appeals court. He also has been state insurance commissioner, deputy attorney general and a private lawyer.

His easy confirmation came just two days after Ed Kubo won a much more contentious approval from the Senate to become a Circuit Court judge.

"There was no drama, and we couldn't find any skeletons in his background. We tried," said Sen. Sam Slom, R-8th (Kähala, Hawai'i Kai). "The only thing we could find in his background that was negative was his overzealous appetite for Chicago pizza."

Lingle has appointed five judges to the appellate court, 13 to the Circuit Court and two justices to the Hawai'i Supreme Court.

Senate Democrats have criticized Lingle for appointing too many prosecuting attorneys and not enough women to judgeships, but they didn't hold that against Reifurth.

"Although he's not a woman and I certainly would have preferred more woman appointees to the bench, that's not something he could control," said Sen. Roz Baker, D-5th (West & South Maui). "He will bring a vast wealth of experience."

Reifurth fills the vacancy created when Lingle named Judge Craig Nakamura to serve as chief judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals.