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First Native Hawaiian woman confirmed as a federal judge

The U.S. Senate has voted to confirm the first Native Hawaiian woman as a federal district court judge.

Shanlyn Park was confirmed Thursday in a 53 - 45 vote. She will serve as a judge for the U.S. District Court of Hawai‘i.

She has been a state circuit court judge since 2021. She previously worked in private practice and at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Hawai‘i.

Born and raised in Hawai?i, Park is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law, Chaminade University, and Sacred Hearts Academy.

Kaua?i High alum Micah Smith was also confirmed this week as a federal judge in Hawai?i in a vote of 57 - 41. He is currently an assistant U.S. attorney. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

"Smith's story is a quintessentially American one. The son of an immigrant, he grew up in a housing project on Kaua‘i attending public schools," Sen. Brian Schatz said in a speech before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October.

Smith has an undergraduate degree from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania and a law degree from Harvard.

Smith will fill a vacancy opening at the end of January. Park was confirmed for an opening in October 2024.

“I believe both nominees’ experience, temperament, and demonstrated commitment to public service, along with their deep roots in Hawai‘i, will make them excellent judges on Hawai‘i’s District Court," Sen. Mazie Hirono said in a statement before the votes.

Separately on the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, Lisa Ginoza and Vladimir Devens were confirmed by the state Senate last week to serve as associate justices.