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Schatz, Hirono Establish Federal Judicial Selection Commission To Fill U.S. District Court Vacancies

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) announced the formation of a Federal Judicial Selection Commission to make recommendations on candidates to fill potential vacancies on the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

The Commission consists of three members with one member appointed by each senator and a chair jointly agreed on. Senator Schatz appointed Emily Kawashima and Senator Hirono appointed Lynne Toyofuku. Judge Kevin Chang will serve as chair of the Commission.

“Hawai‘i is home to some of the most diverse and brilliant legal minds in the country, and that is what our judiciary should reflect,” said Senator Schatz. “Our balanced commission will begin a process that will help us put forward well-qualified candidates to fill these important vacancies.”

“Judges serve an important role in our country and it is critical they are fair, impartial, and reflect the diversity and values of their communities,” said Senator Hirono. “I am confident this commission will put forward judicial nominees who meet those criteria and will serve Hawaii, and our country, honorably.”

Kevin S. C. Chang served as a Magistrate Judge for the District of Hawai‘i for nearly two decades before retiring in 2019. Chang began his judicial career in 1993 when he became a civil trial judge for the First Circuit Court for the State of Hawai‘i. He held that position until becoming the Civil Administrative Judge for the same circuit in 1998. Judge Chang received his undergraduate degree from Lewis and Clark College, and his law degree from Lewis and Clark College’s Northwestern School of Law.

Emily H. Kawashima has had a solo practice since 2011, focusing on trust and probate litigation, conservatorships, guardianships and serves as a neutral. Previously, Ms. Kawashima clerked for United States District Judge Samuel P. King, served as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu and practiced personal injury law at the Law Offices of Ian L. Mattoch. Ms. Kawashima is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the William S. Richardson School of Law.

Lynne T. T. Toyofuku retired from law practice in 2021. Since March 2020, she has served as a per diem judge with the Family Court, First Circuit for the State of Hawai‘i, where she presides on the domestic and special calendars. Prior to her retirement, she was a partner with Marr Jones & Wang LLLP, where she practiced exclusively employment and labor law, representing management. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Boston University School of Law.

Candidates interested in applying for the pending vacancies are asked to submit a confidential cover letter, resume, and a list of five representative cases worked on with names of the presiding judge and other counsel (just names of counsel if the candidate is a sitting judge) who may be confidentially contacted to the Commission by March 31, 2023. Any judge or counsel called about an applicant will be instructed to keep the application confidential. Please send application materials and any questions to