Yes Foley Yes
by Robert M. Rees
August 9-15, 2000
When Gov. Ben Cayetano nominated Dan Foley to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, he commented, "Foley has the kind of guts and integrity that I like. By the time my term is up, I hope to appoint a few more like Foley and [recently confirmed Supreme Court Judge Simeon] Acoba to the bench."
Acoba, at his hearing on April 17, was strongly but unsuccessfully opposed by City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle. Foley, a longtime advocate of civil liberties and the attorney who filed the Baehr vs. Lewin same-sex marriage case in 1991, got the same treatment at his Aug. 2 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Carlisle's written testimony proffered that Foley might work "against societal interest" and in favor of "individual rights." Such is due process of the law, perhaps?
Most of the opposition to Foley came from Mike Gabbard and members of his Alliance for Traditional Marriage & Values. A crowd of 100 of Gabbard's true believers, watching the proceedings on `Olelo television outside the hearing room, shouted, "No Foley No," even while Gabbard was testifying, "Mr. Foley has shown that he has absolutely no aloha for the majority of the people of Hawai`i."
Meanwhile, some previous courtroom opponents of Foley's---former Mayor Frank Fasi, former Deputy AG Tom Farrell, former U.S. Attorney Dan Bent, UH Professor John Van Dyke and Director of Public Safety Ted Sakai---offered strong testimony on Foley's behalf.
During the proceedings, state Sen. Whitney Anderson, the Republican master of malapropisms, interrupted to say, "I had planned to save this for later, but what bothers me is that a law means one thing to some and another to others. I have to look out for the taxpayers." That was it. No one had a clue.
Fellow Repub' Sen. Sam Slom, who is not a member of the committee, asked a series of innuendo-based questions that had the other senators rolling their eyes. Using phrases like, "It's out there in the community," Slom at one point said to Foley, "You've been identified with the rights of criminals."
The committee voted to confirm. The only "no" came from Democratic Sen. Norman Sakamoto. Anderson voted WR --- "with reservations" --- to confirm.
The next day, with Gabbard's minions in the gallery, the Senate voted 14 to 8 to consent to the nomination. Five senators spoke out against Foley, but only Robert Bunda made any sense. The other four embarrassed themselves and the Senate.
Anderson, evidently forgetting he had voted to confirm the day before, and apropos of nothing except that Foley once worked for the ACLU, noted, "I'm proud of our flag." Anderson also wondered aloud why he is not allowed to burn sheets on public land.
Sakamoto misquoted what Dan Bent had said the previous day, that Foley is not a knee-jerk liberal. Marshall Ige, notorious for his alleged conniving with the Kamehameha Schools, encouraged his colleagues "to always let your conscience be your guide."
Slom, apparently deranged over the Pacific Business News incident involving Malia Zimmerman, falsely claimed that Foley is being "fast-tracked" to the state Supreme Court in order to protect the governor, "known for retribution" in First Amendment cases.
Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, in an eloquent speech on Foley's behalf, put these know-nothings to shame. Said Hanabusa, "It's especially disturbing to hear `civil rights' used as a bad word." Also eloquent on Foley's behalf was Sen. Jonathan Chun of Kaua`i.
Then, to the credit of our Senate, Foley's appointment was approved. Sen. President Norman Mizuguchi, in one of his final acts of leadership before retiring, couldn't have asked for a grander finale.
---end of article