By Daniel Wiessner
ALBANY, N.Y., Dec 19 (Reuters) - Six of the seven candidates
for the Court of Appeals seat vacated by retiring Judge Carmen
Ciparick are "well qualified" for the position, New York State
Bar Association President Seymour James said on Wednesday.
In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, James said that
Margarita Rosa, the executive director of Grand Street
Settlement, is "not qualified" for a seat on the state's top
court. Cuomo must select a replacement for Ciparick between Jan.
1 and Jan. 15.
"We reviewed each candidate's background, studied their
decisions and/or writings and interviewed those who knew them,"
He and other bar association officials also interviewed each
candidate, James said, and the discussions "generally included
background, experience and temperament."
The bar association rates nominees "well qualified,"
"qualified," or "not qualified." In the last three Court of
Appeals vacancies, Rosa is the only nominee to have been deemed
unqualified for a seat.
James did not immediately return a call seeking further
Rosa, the former commissioner of the state Division of Human
Rights, did not return a request for comment.
Besides Rosa, the nominees for the Court of Appeals are
Justices Sheila Abdus-Salaam and Rolando Acosta of the Appellate
Division, First Department; Fourth Department Justice Eugene
Fahey; Kathy Chin of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; David Schulz
of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz; and CUNY School of Law
Professor Jenny Rivera.
The candidates were announced Dec. 1 by the state Commission
on Judicial Nomination.
On Tuesday, the state Trial Lawyers Association released its
own ratings, after interviewing each candidate and reviewing
their legal writings. The group found Judges Abdus-Salaam,
Acosta and Fahey "highly qualified and highly recommended;"
Rivera "qualified and recommended;" and Chin, Rosa and Schulz
Ciparick, who has reached the mandatory retirement age of
70, will step down at the end of December after 19 years on the
Court of Appeals. She is the court's first Hispanic judge.
Those six candidates who are not chosen by Cuomo will be
considered for the vacancy left by Judge Theodore Jones, who
died of a heart attack on Nov. 6. The deadline to apply for
Jones's seat is Dec. 21, and his replacement will be chosen by
Cuomo's selections are subject to confirmation by the state
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