Sabrina Shizue McKenna grew up in Japan and the Philippines with Japanese as her first language. She received her B.A. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and her J.D. from the university’s William S. Richardson School of Law (WSRSL). She was then a civil litigator, general counsel to a Japan-based conglomerate, and assistant professor at WSRSL. In 1993, she was appointed a state limited jurisdiction trial judge, and in 1995, a general jurisdiction trial judge. In 2009, she was appointed presiding judge of the Oʻahu family court. Upon her appointment to the Hawaii Supreme Court in 2011, she became the first openly LGBTQ Asian Pacific American justice of a state court of last resort, for which she was awarded the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award. She has received various additional awards.
A Conversation with Groundbreaking LGBTQ+ Supreme Court Justices
Nuts & Bolts Academy for Judicial Candidates