By Daniel Wiessner
ALBANY, N.Y., Dec 1 (Reuters) - The New York State
Commission on Judicial Nomination has nominated seven people,
including three Appellate Division justices, to fill the Court
of Appeals seat being vacated by retiring Judge Carmen Ciparick.
The nominees, announced Saturday, are Appellate Division,
First Department Justices Sheila Abdus-Salaam and Rolando
Acosta; Fourth Department Justice Eugene Fahey; Kathy Chin of
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; David Schulz of Levine Sullivan
Koch & Schulz; CUNY School of Law Professor Jenny Rivera; and
Margarita Rosa, the executive director of Grand Street
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.
Governor Andrew Cuomo must select her replacement between
Jan. 1 and Jan. 15.
A record 75 people applied for Ciparick's seat, former Chief
Judge Judith Kaye, the chair of the commission, wrote in a
letter to Cuomo on Saturday. The panel interviewed 36 candidates
over four days in November, she said.
Over the last ten vacancies, dating to 1997, no more than 47
people had applied, according to the commission. The record for
the number of female applicants more than tripled, from 11 in
2003 to 35 this year, and the number of minority applicants more
than doubled, from a high of 11 in 2006 to 24.
The six candidates who are not chosen by Cuomo will be
considered for the vacancy left by the death of Judge Theodore
Jones, who died of an apparent h e art attack on Nov. 6.
Abdus-Salaam, 60, was appointed to the First Department in
2009, after sitting in Manhattan Supreme Court for 15 years. She
was previously an attorney with East Brooklyn Legal Services
Corporation, the New York City Law Department and the city's
Office of Labor Services. If selected, she would be the first
black woman appointed to the court, and its fifth black judge.
Acosta, 56, was appointed to the First Department in 2008.
He was a Manhattan Supreme Court justice from 2004 to 2007, and
sat in New York City Civil Court from 1998 to 2001. He would be
the high court's second Hispanic judge, if chosen for the spot.
Kathy Chin, 59, has been a partner in litigation at
Cadwalader since 1990. She would be the first Asian-American
judge in the history of the Court of Appeals.
Fahey, 61, was appointed to the Fourth Department in 2006.
He previously had sat in Erie County Supreme Court and Buffalo
City Court, and was a member of Buffalo's Common Council for
more than a decade.
Rivera, 51, joined the faculty of CUNY School of Law in
1997, and is the founder and director of the school's Center on
Latino and Latina Rights and Equality. She was an administrative
law judge for the state Division of Human Rights, and served as
a special deputy attorney general for civil rights under Cuomo,
when he was attorney general. She also clerked for U.S. Supreme
Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor from 1993 to 1994, when Sotomayor
was a judge in the Southern District of New York.
Margarita Rosa, 59, has been the executive director of Grand
Street Settlement since 1995. The non-profit provides a range of
services to low-income people and immigrants. After spending
five years in private practice, Rosa in 1985 joined the state
Division of Human Rights, where she served as commissioner from
1990 to 1995.
Like Acosta, Rivera and Rosa would, if chosen, become the
second Hispanic judge in the high court's history.
Schulz, 60, is a founding partner of Levine Sullivan Koch &
Schulz, which was formed in 2003, and also worked at now defunct
Rogers & Wells, and Clifford Chance. He is an adjunct professor
at Yale Law School and Columbia Law School, and a frequent
author and lecturer on topics related to the press and the First
The commission will hold an informational meeting regarding
the Jones vacancy at the New York City Bar Association on Dec.
(A prior version of this story incorrectly reported the year
Levine Sullivan Koch and Schulz was founded. It was formed in
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