By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK, Feb 6 (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg swore in 38 judges across the city's various courts on
Wednesday, using a merit system instituted by the late former
mayor Ed Koch.
Koch, who died last week at 88 of congestive heart failure,
transformed the judicial selection process to emphasize merit
rather than political patronage.
"Our administration takes pride in all we have done to
preserve and enhance a process of appointing judges based on
integrity, independence and merit - a process first instituted
by former Mayor Ed Koch," Bloomberg said, according to a copy of
his prepared remarks.
The new appointments include six Family Court judges, nine
Criminal Court judges and six Civil Court judges. Bloomberg also
reappointed four Family Court judges, 12 Criminal Court judges
and one Civil Court judge.
Koch established the mayor's advisory committee on the
judiciary, which is comprised of mayoral appointees as well as
members chosen by the state's chief judge, the presiding
justices of the First and Second departments of the Appellate
Division and a rotation of the city's law school deans.
The committee selects nominees for Family Court and Criminal
Court as well as nominees to fill interim vacancies at the Civil
Court, where judges are elected. The mayor then chooses from
among them, and his picks must be rated highly qualified by the
city's bar association.
"Coming a week after Koch died, who created the system in
the first place, it really highlights how important and
significant this process is," Michael Cardozo, the city's
corporation counsel, said in a phone interview. "It really takes
politics out of the equation."
A full list of the judges can be found here.
In his remarks, Bloomberg noted that close to one-third of
his judicial selections during his 12-year tenure have been
minorities, a benefit of the nomination system, Cardozo said.
"When you saw this group of judges at the swearing-in, it
was New York City in front of you," Cardozo said.
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