Nancy Polikoff

Lesbian Appointed to Hawaii Supreme Court

Filed By Nancy Polikoff | March 09, 2011 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Hawaii Supreme Court, lesbian judge, Sabrina Mckenna

I have an address book that is more than 25-years-old. When I heard that Hawaii sabrina-mckenna.jpgGovernor Neil Abercrombie had nominated Sabrina McKenna to the Hawaii Supreme Court, I knew the name immediately.

Could this be the same Sabrina McKenna who took me to a karaoke bar in Honolulu maybe 20 years ago? Sure enough, there was her name and (old) home telephone number (no cell phones then) in my address book. I met Sabrina at a conference when we were both clinical law professors. I told her I was coming to Hawaii for a visit and she invited me to call her. The karaoke evening followed.

Now she joins a tiny group (four to be exact) of openly gay justices on the highest courts of states. (There are two in Oregon and one in Colorado). Her confirmation vote in the state senate was unanimous.

McKenna and her partner, Denise Yamashiro, have three children, ages 8 - 14. She is also the first graduate of University of Hawaii's law school to sit on the state's highest court. She also attended University of Hawaii as an undergraduate, where she played women's basketball.

McKenna was sworn in on March third and will serve a 10-year term.

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