Mark J. Bennett

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Mark J. Bennett
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
July 13, 2018
Appointed byDonald Trump
Preceded byRichard Clifton
12th Attorney General of Hawaii
In office
January 3, 2003 – December 6, 2010
GovernorLinda Lingle
Preceded byEarl I. Anzai
Succeeded byDavid M. Louie
Personal details
Born (1953-02-24) February 24, 1953 (age 66)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUnion College (BA)
Cornell Law School (JD)

Mark Jeremy Bennett (born February 24, 1953) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


In 1976, Bennett obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Union College in Schenectady. He attended Cornell Law School in Ithaca where he sat on the Board of Editors of the Cornell Law Review. There, he received his Juris Doctor in 1979. After leaving law school, Bennett became a law clerk to Chief Judge Samuel Pailthorpe King of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. Completing his clerkship, Bennett served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1980 to 1982 and for the District of Hawaii until 1990. In 1991, Bennett went into private legal practice as a partner at the firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP. At the same time, he worked pro-bono for the attorney general's office and taught at the William S. Richardson School of Law.[1] He served as Attorney General of Hawaii from 2003 to 2010 in the two-term administration of Republican Governor Linda Lingle.

Bennett served as Acting Governor of Hawaii from August 25 to September 3, 2004, upon the absence of Governor Linda Lingle and Lt. Governor Duke Aiona.[2] The executives left the Hawaiian Islands to attend the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.

Federal judicial service[edit]

On February 12, 2018, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Bennett to an undetermined seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On February 15, 2018, his nomination was sent to the Senate. President Trump nominated Bennett to the seat vacated by Judge Richard Clifton, who took senior status on December 31, 2016. On April 11, 2018, a hearing on his nomination was held before the Senate Judiciary Committee.[3] On May 10, 2018, his nomination was reported out of committee by an 18–2 vote.[4] On July 9, 2018, the United States Senate voted to invoke cloture by a vote of 72–25.[5] On July 10, 2018, the Senate voted 72–27 in favor of confirmation. All 27 votes against his confirmation came from Republican Senators due to Bennett's stances on firearms.[6] He received his judicial commission on July 13, 2018.

On August 16, 2019, Bennett was in the majority of a split panel for the Ninth Circuit which blocked new asylum restrictions by the Trump administration within its own jurisdiction but declined to block the new asylum rules across the entire nation.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Bennett was born February 24, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York.[8] He is married to Honolulu attorney Patricia Tomi Ohara.[2] He has been a member of the Federalist Society since 2016.[9]


  1. ^ "Attorney General Mark J. Bennett". Hawaii Department of the Attorney General. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Profile of Mark J. Bennett". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  3. ^ United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary: Nominations for April 11, 2018
  4. ^ "Results of Executive Business Meeting – May 10, 2018, Senate Judiciary Committee".
  5. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 115th Congress - 2nd Session". Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  6. ^ Swoyer, Alex (July 10, 2018). "27 Republicans vote against Trump pick for 9th Circuit". Washington Times. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  7. ^ Thomsen, Jacqueline (August 16, 2019). "Ninth Circuit Panel Fractures Over National Injunctions With Trump's Latest Asylum Order". Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  8. ^ "Mark J. Bennett -- Lawyer". Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved June 30, 2018.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Earl I. Anzai
Attorney General of Hawaii
Succeeded by
David M. Louie
Preceded by
Richard Clifton
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit