Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York will complete his final months in office in December 2015. He departs the august body to which he was appointed in January 2009 by Governor David A. Paterson, and subsequently confirmed by the New York State Senate in February 2009.
Age is the governing dictate that demands the Chief Judge must abide, rather than legal capacity and acumen. The esteemed Chief Judge does not gain the benefit of as many as up to three, two-year extensions to serve as an Associate Judge, permitting one to remain on the bench for up to one’s 76th year.
Names of prominent figures have risen to recognition within the legal profession as worthy of consideration to replace Chief Judge Lippman. Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, prominent and well-respected for her resume of accomplishment, knowledge of law, demeanor, and sensitivity to concerns of modernity is being seriously considered for the appointment.
Stephen P. Younger, a prominent lawyer and partner at the firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, was also a law school classmate of Governor Andrew Cuomo, is one of four or five finalists being considered for the state’s top court. Younger, past President of the New York State Bar Association, a leading commercial litigator for over 30 years, respected for his well-known alternative dispute resolution work, is often sought as an arbitrator or mediator in such high-stake matters.
Jenny Rivera, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was nominated in January 15, 2013, by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and her appointment was confirmed by the New York State Senate on February 11, 2013. Judge Rivera has spent her entire professional career in public service; clerked for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, on the Southern District of New York, worked for the Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Family Rights Project, among other disciplines.
Sheila Abdus-Salaam, Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, was elected to the Supreme Court, New York County, and was re-elected in 2007. She was appointed an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department in March 2009 by Governor David A. Paterson. Her appointment to the Court of Appeals by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was confirmed by the State Senate on May 6, 2013. She lives in New York City.
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The name of Susan Marie Cacace, who presides over the Westchester Supreme and County and County 9th Judicial District Court is among the first name to rise to seriously being considered to succede District Attorney DiFiore should DiFiore succeed the Honorable Jonathan Lippman. The Hon. Cacace’s demeanor and temperament underwrites her being considered, eclipsing many who lust for the prospect of being considered.
Richard Brodsky, formidable as an intellect in law and politics, alike, presently a Senior Fellow at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University also a member of the public policy organization Demos, is being considered for appointment to replace D.A. DiFiore.
Jeffrey A. Cohen is an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Second Judicial Department. Appointed by Gov. David Patterson on December 9, 2010. Justice of the Supreme Court, State of New York, Ninth Judicial District. Elected in November 2009. He too, is a strong contender to replace Ms. DiFiore.
Likewise in temperament and capacity to juris prudence is Yonkers City Court Judge Ed Gafney.
While there are others under consideration, none approach the good standing to which the two first mentioned to succeed DiFiore are held in high regard.
A hat tip and a sincere thank you to all instrumental in putting this report together. Kindly, Hezi