Updated: December 2, 2023
Micah Smith, an assistant U.S. attorney, and Judge Shanlyn Park, State of Hawaiʻi court judge, were introduced on Thursday to the US Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing to consider their nominations to the US District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.
“They have the legal acumen as well as the character and temperament required to fulfill the duties of US District Court judges,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said at the hearing. “It’s for these reasons that I’m proud to support their nominations to the federal bench.”
Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) also recommended Smithʻs and Parkʻs nominations.
Smith, a graduate of Kauaʻi High School, Lock Haven University (summa cum laude) and Harvard Law School (magna cum laude), has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii since 2018.
He is currently Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and Criminal Civil Rights Coordinator in that office. He has also been the office’s Chief of Appeals and Legal Strategy since 2022.
Smith served as a law clerk for Justice David H. Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court from 2007 to 2008 and Judge Guido Calabresi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2006 to 2007.
“Micah Smith’s story is a quintessentially American one,” Schatz said. “The son of an immigrant, he grew up in a housing project on Kaua‘i attending public schools before going to Lock Haven University where he graduated with top honors and later to Harvard Law School.“
Schatz added: “Those who know him often highlight his abiding sense of fairness and balanced temperament. A colleague noted: ‘He listens and considers carefully before voicing his opinion,” adding that he has “an unwavering commitment to achieve a better system of justice that provides access to justice for all.”
Park, a graduate of Chaminade University (cum laude) and the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, has been a state court judge on the First Circuit Court on Oʻahu since 2021.
Previously, Park worked from 2017 to 2021 at the Honolulu law firms McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon and Gallagher Kane Amai & Reyes. From 1997 to 2017, Judge Park served as an assistant federal public defender in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Hawaiʻi.
Prior to her service in that office, Judge Park was in private practice at Hisaka Stone & Goto from 1996 to 1997. She served as a law clerk for Judge Francis I. Yamashita, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of Hawaiʻi from 1995 to 1996.
If confirmed, Park would become the only native Hawaiian woman on the federal bench.
Schatz said: “Judge Park’s credentials are impressive by any measure. But the historic nature of her nomination should not be lost on anyone.“
Schatz added that Park has a commitment to equal justice and has spent two decades as a public defender “giving voice to those most in need.”
“She represented low-income defendants on a variety of complex cases, earning a reputation among colleagues and opposing counsel alike as a highly-skilled, compassionate and solutions-oriented attorney,” Schatz said. “And she has brought her integrity and sound judgment to the bench since becoming a state court judge in 2021.
“In supporting her nomination, a former boss remarked: ‘The law is more than a job for Shanlyn,” calling her “a great ambassador for the law.”