By: NY1 News - December 3, 2008 12:15pm
Governor David Paterson held a news conference this afternoon to question the nomination list for chief judges presented to him this week because not one person on the list was a woman. He said it was even more surprising since the outgoing chief judge, Judith Kaye, is a woman. Kaye must step down because of her age. Paterson was joined by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who he is asking to investigate legal alternatives. Earlier this week, Paterson was handed a list of seven names to be considered to lead the highest court in the state. The list is made up of four appeals judges and three prominent lawyers; all but one are white. The selection system was established by constitutional amendment in 1977. Half of the selection commission is appointed by the chief judge and the other half is appointed by the governor.
Paterson asks Cuomo to look into judicia nominations Lack of diversity cited by governor in list for new chief judge
The Albany Times Union by RICK KARLIN, updated: 12:51 p.m., Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Gov. David Paterson has asked Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to examine whether or not he's legally obligated to select the next chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals from a list that he finds insufficiently diverse. Paterson has expressed his displeasure that the list, compiled by the Commission on Judicial Nomination, includes no women and only one member of a minority. The current chief judge, Judith Kaye, will retire at the end of the month. The nomination process for state Court of Appeals chief judge is starting to morph into a political battle. On Monday, the governor's aides said they were exploring options for coping with the list, such as requesting more names from the nominating committee, which is bipartisan but headed by former Pataki confidant John O'Mara. At the same time, state Senate Democrats — who are about to take control of the chamber next month and who have been at a retreat in Saratoga Springs to lay out political and fund-raising strategies for next year — are starting to complain about the nominations as well.
"I am profoundly distressed by the list of candidates recommended by the Committee on Judicial Nomination," said Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a statement. "Without impeaching the qualifications of those on the list, I find it incomprehensible that not a single woman, nor a single Latino candidate appears on the list." The nomination controversy has ramifications for the lingering question of how a handful of rebellious senators will vote to elect the chamber's leadership. Those senators — Pedro Espada, Ruben Diaz Sr. and Carl Kruger — have made the lack of Latinos in leadership positions throughout the state a major component of their unwillingness to express support for current Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith.