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Process of selecting a Court of Appeals Judge


ALBANY,N.Y. (NEWS10)—The New York State Court of Appeals is the highest court in the state. On Monday, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced she is stepping down from the coveted position after serving for seven years.

“The New York Court of Appeals is one of the great courts in American History,” stated Albany Law Professor, Vincent Bonventre. “Traditionally, it’s one of the most influential courts in America and in fact, through much of its history it is considered at least as good, and some of the time it’s considered much better than the United States Supreme Court itself.”

Bonventre said when there is a vacancy in this court, a notice is given to the Commission on Judicial Nomination.

“The governor in our state doesn’t get to pick just anybody,” Bonventre explained.” The governor must pick from a list that is provided by that commission, so the commission I would imagine, has now received notification that Chief Judge DiFiore will be resigning effective August 31st. So the commission now will have 120 days to solicit applications and then interview some applicants, and then vote on and provide the governor with a list of 7 names.”

After the governor makes her decision, the Senate then accepts or rejects her choice. According to Bonventre, Governor Hochul has an opportunity now to reshape the Court of Appeals, especially if she chooses someone as chief judge who is already on the court.

“Say she chooses two of the more liberal members of the court. That is Shirley Troutman, who she actually just appointed to the court. Shirley Troutman is from Buffalo, just like Hochul is, or Rowan Wilson who is an absolutely brilliant lawyer and now a brilliant judge. If she was to appoint either one of those, she would make history number one because they are both African American. We would have the first African American Chief Judge in the history of the state. Number two, I’d she selected one of those two, what would happen? It would create another vacancy on the court.”

Court of Appeals is expected to convene for an election session next Tuesday, July 19th. 


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