Obama nominates Kobayashi for District Judge post
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
President Barack Obama has made his first judicial appointment in Hawaii, nominating U.S. Magistrate-Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi to serve as a federal District Judge.
Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka announced Kobayashi's appointment Wednesday morning. Kobayashi must still be confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the lifetime judgeship.
If confirmed, Kobayashi, 52, would fill the vacancy created on the federal bench here last year when District Judge Helen Gillmor became a senior judge.
"Magistrate-Judge Kobayashi is an individual of unquestioned character and a sound choice for the federal bench," said Inouye.
"Her experience as an attorney and Magistrate-Judge have shaped her legal perspective and given her an eye for justice. I am confident in her ability to preside over the court with fairness and compassion," said Inouye.
Akaka called Kobayashi "an outstanding and well-respected jurist" who is "known for her fairness and timely rulings."
Kobayashi was appointed a magistrate-judge here in 1999 and was reappointed in 2007.
Magistrate judges handle misdemeanor criminal cases and assist district judges in pretrial civil and criminal cases.
Kobayashi attended the University of Hawaii and received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in 1979.
She graduated from the Boston College School of Law in 1981.
Kobayashi served as a Honolulu deputy prosecuting attorney and worked in private practice for 17 years at the law firm of Fujiyama Duffy & Fujiyama.