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HomeNewsJudging the judge: How to vet the state’s new chief judge

Judging the judge: How to vet the state’s new chief judge

When New York State Chief Decide Janet DiFiore submitted her resignation letter on July 28, it began a tightly scripted statutory calendar to seat her alternative, who won’t solely lead the customarily fractured seven-judge Court docket of Appeals however run the complete judicial department of the state. Massive job.

The Court docket of Appeals is the highest bench, the best arbiter of New York regulation. (State Supreme Court docket is the underside degree; don’t be confused.) Solely two states name their high court docket thus, and shortly will probably be just one, as 75% of Maryland voters simply permitted a constitutional modification to rebrand their excessive court docket the Supreme Court docket.

Who comes after DiFiore?

On Wednesday, two days earlier than the allowed 120 days for the reason that emptiness was decided, the dozen members of the state Fee on Judicial Nomination revealed a listing of seven extremely certified attorneys and judges to succeed DiFiore. Gov. Hochul should choose a reputation off the checklist “no earlier than 15 days nor later than 30 days.” Her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, typically broke that timing portion of the regulation.

The nomination then goes to the state Senate, which will need to have a flooring vote inside 30 days. Final 12 months, on Hochul’s nomination of Affiliate Decide Shirley Troutman, the Senate did not vote inside the required timeframe. The Senate should comply with the regulation — or change it — not ignore it. The senators’ excuse for dilly-dallying was they have been out of session, however the regulation accounts for that: If the Senate isn’t in session, “the governor shall make an interim appointment.”

This time, the Democratic leaders of the Senate say they are going to be rigorous in questioning the nominee, because the U.S. Senate is with federal judges and Supreme Court docket justices. We’d welcome that. With the one exception of Jenny Rivera in 2013, the Senate has by no means put powerful inquiries to any Court docket of Appeals nominee for the reason that state Structure was amended to modify these judges from being elected to appointed in 1979.

Ask away and be happy to vote no, however obey the regulation.

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