On November 19, 2020, the Hawaii State Senate confirmed Todd Eddins to succeed Justice Richard W. Pollack on the Hawaii Supreme Court. Gov. David Ige (D) appointed Eddins to the court on October 23, 2020. Eddins is Ige’s first nominee to the five-member supreme court.
The seat became vacant when Pollack retired on June 30, 2020, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.
Under Hawaii law, state supreme court justices are selected through the assisted appointment method. The governor chooses an appointee from a list of candidates submitted by the judicial nominating commission. The nominee requires confirmation from the Hawaii State Senate.
Eddins became a judge of the O’ahu First Circuit of Hawaii in 2017 after being appointed by Gov. Ige on February 9. The Hawaii State Senate confirmed Eddins on March 3, 2017.
Before his appointment to the O’ahu First Circuit, Eddins worked as a trial lawyer for the Office of the Public Defender. He also served as a clerk for Justice Yoshimi Hayashi of the Hawaii Supreme Court.
Eddins earned an undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary and a J.D. from the University of Hawaii, where he was the executive editor of the University of Hawaii Law Review.
The Hawaii Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. As of October 2020, three judges on the court were appointed by a Democratic governor, and one judge on the court was appointed by a Republican governor.
In 2020, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. One vacancy occurred when a chief justice died, and 21 vacancies were caused by retirements.