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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Federal court candidates invited for interviews

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

The White House on Monday invited two Honolulu lawyers, an assistant U.S. attorney and a sitting magistrate judge to be interviewed in Washington next Wednesday for possible appointment by President Bush as U.S. District Court judge in Hawai'i.

They are Adrienne King and Randal Yoshida, attorneys in private practice, and Assistant U. S. Attorney Marshall Silverberg and U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren.

They are believed to have the blessing of State Rep. Barbara Marumoto, R-17th (Kahala-Wai'alae Iki), who ran the Bush-Cheney campaign in Hawai'i.

A fifth contender, attorney Jay Fidell, is believed to be the only candidate for the job who has the support of state Republican Party Chairwoman Linda Lingle, who is expected to run for governor again next year.

Lingle would not reveal her choice, but said yesterday she is sure the person she is recommending will be interviewed by the White House.

The position as Hawai'i's fourth regular federal judge is considered one of the most powerful positions in Hawai'i.

It is a lifetime appointment, unlike U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshal and two agriculture jobs Bush will fill.

The federal district court in Hawai'i is involved in such sweeping issues as special education, mental health hospital care and fishing practices.

Lingle said timing of interviews doesn't reflect White House interest in Marumoto's choices versus hers.

Lingle and Marumoto have been able to agree on only one of the several Hawai'i appointments being made by Bush, that of attorney Richard "Rick" Clifton, Republican party counsel in Hawai'i, for a vacancy on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"There are lots of other things in play," Lingle said.

Lingle confirmed that after she decided on her choice for the judgeship, she wrote letters to others who had expressed interest thanking them but saying she had chosen another.

Yoshida, a former deputy Honolulu prosecutor, served here as attorney for the Bush campaign. Kurren has been a magistrate judge in the federal court here for nine years.

King, the daughter-in-law of Senior U.S. District Judge Sam King, is a former city deputy prosecutor and deputy corporation counsel and has run as a Republican for the state house several times.

Silverberg has prosecuted several high-profile drug, gambling and public corruption cases during more than a dozen years at the U.S. Attorney's office, several with the Organized Crime Strike Force.

King and Silverberg confirmed yesterday they will be meeting with the White House counsel's office next Wednesday, and said they were honored to be considered.

Yoshida and Kurren declined comment.

Neither Fidell nor Marumoto could be reached.