Obama taps Kobayashi for federal district judge seat
President Obama has made his first judicial appointment in Hawai'i, nominating U.S. Magistrate-Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi to serve as a federal district judge.
U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka yesterday announced Kobayashi. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
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.
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 Hawai'i and received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in 1979.
She graduated from Boston College Law School 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.