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Watson, A Kamehameha Schools Graduate, Will Be Sole Native Hawaiian Serving On Federal Bench

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Senator Brian Schatz, Representative Colleen Hanabusa, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard commended the Senate confirmation today of Derrick Kahala Watson, President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. Watson has served since 2007 as Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Hawaii. A 1984 graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Watson will be the sole Native Hawaiian currently serving on the federal bench and only the fourth in U.S. history.

“Derrick Watson’s confirmation today recognizes his eminent qualifications to serve Hawaii and our nation from the federal bench. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I have had the opportunity to interact with Mr. Watson and am confident he will serve with distinction. Beyond his legal acumen, he brings sorely needed diversity and cultural perspective to the federal bench as the sole Native Hawaiian currently serving. Congratulations to Mr. Watson and his family on this momentous occasion,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono.

“I’m proud that the Senate confirmed Derrick Watson for U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “His leadership and wealth of experience as a long-time attorney has made him a proven leader for the people of Hawaii. I am confident he will continue to serve our country well, and with Native Hawaiians  being underrepresented on the federal bench, his confirmation is a big step in the right direction towards diversifying the court.”

“With his fine legal reputation and personal connection to our state and our host culture, I am confident Mr. Watson will be an excellent addition to Hawaii’s federal bench. Both Senator Inouye and Senator Akaka supported his nomination, and their recommendation remains important to me. I am proud that President Obama has reflected our state’s diversity and rich heritage with this nomination, and continued his support of women and minorities,” said U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa.

“Today, Judge Watson made history. I am confident he will serve Hawai‘i with distinction and honor,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “He has dedicated his life to the pursuit of justice and fairness in our legal system. I am proud to welcome this Kamehameha Schools graduate to serve in such a prestigious capacity. We are fortunate to have someone of his stature serving on our District Court.”