Supreme Court of Hawaii

The Supreme Court of Hawaii is the highest court of the State of Hawaii in the United States. Its decisions are binding on all other courts of the Hawaii State Judiciary. The principal purpose of the Supreme Court is to review the decisions of the trial courts in which appeals have been granted. Appeals are decided by the members of the Supreme Court based on written records and in some cases may grant oral arguments in the main Supreme Court chamber. Like its mainland United States counterparts, the Supreme Court does not take evidence and uses only evidence provided in previous trials.

Hawaii Supreme Court
ʻAha Hoʻokolokolo Kiʻekiʻe o Hawaiʻi  (Hawaiian)
Seal of the Hawaii Supreme Court
LocationHonolulu, Hawaii
Composition methodGovernor nomination with Senate confirmation
Authorized byHaw. Const. art. VI, § 2.
Appeals toSupreme Court of the United States
Judge term length10 years
Number of positions5
WebsiteHawaii Supreme Court
Chief Justice
CurrentlyMark E. Recktenwald
SinceSeptember 14, 2010
Lead position endsSeptember 13, 2020
Hawai'i State Judiciary

Supreme Court
Intermediate Appeals Court
Circuit Courts
District Courts
Family Courts
Tax Appeal Court
Land Court

The court meets in Aliʻiōlani Hale in Honolulu.


The Hawaii State Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to answer questions of law that have been passed to it from trial courts or the federal court, hear civil cases submitted to the Supreme Court on agreed statements of facts, and decide questions coming from proceedings of writs of mandamus, prohibition, and habeas corpus.[1]


The Supreme Court consists of five justices[2][3] who are initially appointed to ten-year terms by the Governor of Hawaii, who makes his or her nomination from a list of four to six candidates from the Hawaii Judicial Selection Commission.[4] The Governor's nominee is subject to confirmation by the Hawaii State Senate.[5] Candidates must be U.S. citizens, Hawaii residents, and have been licensed to practice law for at least 10 years prior to nomination.[6] The Judicial Selection Commission can opt to retain incumbent justices for additional ten-year terms.[7] All justices must retire at 70 years of age.[8]

As of December 18, 2014, the five Justices are:[9]

Title Name Appointed by Served on court since Term expires
Chief JusticeMark E. RecktenwaldLinda LingleMay 11, 2009September 13, 2020
JusticePaula A. NakayamaJohn D. Waihee IIIApril 22, 1993April 21, 2023
JusticeSabrina McKennaNeil AbercrombieMarch 3, 2011March 2, 2021
JusticeRichard W. PollackNeil AbercrombieAugust 6, 2012August 5, 2022
JusticeMichael D. WilsonNeil AbercrombieApril 17, 2014April 16, 2024

See also


  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 602-5. Retrieved 2014 December 18.
  2. Haw. Const. art. VI, § 2. Retrieved 2014 December 18.
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 602-1. Retrieved 2014 December 18.
  4. Haw. Const. art. VI, § 3. Retrieved 2014 December 18.
  5. Id.
  6. Id.
  7. Id.
  8. Id.
  9. Hawaii Supreme Court Justices, Hawaii State Judiciary. Retrieved 2014 December 18.

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