New York State Bar Association President Sends Gov. Cuomo Ratings of Candidates for Court of Appeals Vacancy

By Brandon Vogel

April 22, 2021

New York State Bar Association President Sends Gov. Cuomo Ratings of Candidates for Court of Appeals Vacancy


By Brandon Vogel

The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) has determined that five candidates under consideration by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for elevation to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, are well-qualified.

The ratings were conveyed to the governor in a letter from NYSBA President Scott M. Karson that was delivered today to his office. The candidates were selected by the Commission on Judicial Nomination to fill the vacancy created by the June 2021 retirement of Associate Judge Leslie E. Stein.

Under law, the governor must make his choice between April 23, 2021 and May 8, 2021, and the nominee must be confirmed or rejected by the state Senate within 30 days.

To assist with the appointment process, NYSBA reviews the qualifications of candidates nominated by the state Commission on Judicial Nomination. Its ratings are as follows:

Candidate Rating
Hon. Ellen Nachtigall Biben “Qualified”
Kathy Hirata Chin, Esq. “Well Qualified”
Caitlin J. Halligan, Esq. “Well Qualified”
Hon. Valerie Brathwaite Nelson “Well Qualified”
Hon. Erin M. Peradotto “Well Qualified”
Hon. Madeline Singas “Qualified”
Hon. Shirley Troutman “Well Qualified”

NYSBA considered professional ability, experience, character, temperament, and other qualities in arriving at a determination for each candidate. Each candidate’s qualifications and background were thoroughly examined. Personal interviews were conducted, and each candidate was rated as well qualified, qualified, or not qualified.

According to NYSBA guidelines, qualified applies to candidates who have demonstrated the necessary qualifications for the office, while well qualified is for those who possess pre-eminent qualifications.

The April 22, 2021 letter from Karson can be viewed here.

NYSBA has evaluated candidates for the Court of Appeals since 1967. The Commission on Judicial Nomination was created in 1978 to evaluate and recommend candidates for appointment to the high court.

About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.


Contact: Brandon Vogel
[email protected]

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