From Reddit, really makes you go hmmm… :
(i) Obama and the judge went to Harvard Law school together. They started and graduated in the same year.
(ii) Obama appointed the judge to his current position as a District Court judge for the District of Hawaii (part of the 9th Circuit)
(iii) Obama flew to Hawaii just 48 hours before the judge released his recent opinion on Trump’s Executive Order
(iv) While on the island, Obama was within close driving distance to both the courthouse and the judge’s home. At one point, he was even within 6 minutes from the judge’s house.
Jump to (4) if you want to skip the sources and go right to the analysis.
(1) Sources that Obama visited Hawaii:
- Politico story on Obama in HI.
- Local report on Obama in HI. Note that this provides the name of the restaurants/country club for (3) below.
(2) Sources on Obama & the judge attending Harvard together, and Obama later appointing the judge
- Judge Derrick Kahala Watson ruled on Trump’s Executive Order [source forthcoming]
- A quick look at the judge’s wiki and Obama’s wiki is enough to show you they both started at Harvard Law in 1988 and graduated in 1991, and that Obama appointed Watson as a judge.
(3) Locations that Obama visited during the trip.
- Where Obama played golf: Mid-Pacific Country Club, 266 Kaelepulu Dr, Kailua, HI 96734
- Where Obama had dinner: Noi Thai (Royal Hawaiian Center, C, 2301 Kalakaua Ave C308, Honolulu, HI 96815).
- Note: this doesn’t seem relevant, but he also went here I believe: Buzz’s SteakHouse, 413 Kawailoa Rd, Kailua, HI 96734
- Location of the Courthouse: Prince Kuhio Federal Building, 300 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96850
(4) Analysis: Proximity of Obama and the judge during the visit.
- Note that the local article says Obama went from the Country Club to dinner at Noi Thai.
- At the Country Club:
- Distance to courthouse: 36 min driving
- Distance to judge’s house: 52 min driving
- On the drive from the country club to dinner
- Distance to judge’s house: 6 min driving (i.e., on the way there, turning off the main road and driving 6 min)
- At dinner
- Distance to courthouse: 18 min driving
- Distance to judge’s house: 22 min driving
Obviously the judge and Obama wouldn’t meet at the courthouse–but this gives you a rough idea of the the general vicinity in which the judge lives and works, and therefore, how accessible he would have been to Obama. Also, given the locations of the Country Club and the courthouse and where they sit on the water, if the judge left the courthouse and/or Obama left the country club they would almost inevitably be traveling closer to one another.
Likewise, perhaps they would choose to meet at the judge’s house itself. But again, the fact that the restaurant was only 20 minutes away from the judge’s house (and courthouse), and Obama’s car would’ve been only 6 minutes away from the judge’s house on the ride over, gives you an idea of how readily accessible the judge was if Obama wanted to meet. (Note: It’s possible that they took Route 61 there instead of Highway 1. That would mean they weren’t on the patch of road 6 min from the judge’s house, though they did drive within <5 minutes of the courthouse. So no matter which way they traveled, they were roughly 5 minutes away from the judge’s home or workplace).
Of course, you would need more evidence to prove an actual meeting specifically took place, but when you think critically about the (i)- (iv), some red flags should be going off. It is definitely worth asking some questions about this.