Prominent Lawyers Appointed to Special Committee To Examine Selection of Judges for the Court of Appeals
The president of the New York State Bar Association has appointed a special committee to examine the selection of judges for the Court of Appeals.
“The independence of the judiciary is crucial to the administration of justice,” said Sherry Levin Wallach, president of the New York State Bar Association. “The chief judge runs one of the most preeminent court systems in the world and oversees a staff of more than 15,000 people and a budget of about $3 billion. It is of the utmost importance that we have a process that allows the judiciary to operate efficiently and impartially.”
The association’s Executive Committee agreed to form the special committee on Jan. 19, citing concerns raised over the process for appointing a chief judge. Since then, the state Senate rejected Gov. Kathy Hochul’s nominee for chief judge, Presiding Justice Hector LaSalle, Appellate Division, Second Department.
The rejection of Justice LaSalle on Feb. 15 led the Commission on Judicial Nomination to restart the process for finding a chief judge from the beginning. The commission announced on Feb. 17 that it was accepting recommendations and applications and would give the governor seven well-qualified candidates within 120 days. After that, the governor has 15 to 30 days to choose a nominee, which then must be confirmed by the state Senate to become chief judge.
The special committee will be chaired by Damaris Hernandez, a litigation partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City, and Vincent E. Doyle III, a past NYSBA president who is a commercial litigator at Connors in Buffalo.
Other members of the special committee are:
- Former Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals Eugene Fahey
- Columbia Law School Dean Gillian Lester
- Sherrilyn Ifill, the former president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- John Q. Barrett, the Benjamin N. Cardozo Professor of Law at St. John’s University in New York City
- Peter J. Kiernan, senior counsel at Venable in East Hampton
- David Rosenberg, a partner at Marcus, Rosenberg & Diamond in New York City
- David Louis Cohen, chair of the association’s Criminal Justice Section, a member of the association’s Executive Committee and a solo practitioner in Queens