Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Somewhere I got the notion that the Judicial Nominating Committee's list for the spot being vacated by Chief Judge Judith Kaye had already been announced. I was wrong--it came out yesterday. George Carpinello, Evan Davis, Steven Fisher, Theodore Jones Jr., Jonathan Lippman, Eugene Pigott Jr., and Peter Zimroth are the men on the list, which does not include any other sorts of people. Governor Paterson is upset about this. Judge Jones, who is presently an Associate Judge on the Court of Appeals, is African-American, the rest of the fellas are white. With the departure of Judge Kaye there will be three women on the Court; they are all white. The only one of the candidates whose political affiliation I am sure of is Judge Pigott, who is a Republican. Judge Fisher has been recommended for the Court of Appeals five times-- basically, every time there has been an opening since the year 2000.

A look at the credentials of these people is a pretty powerful argument for merit selection-- Patterson could use a dartboard and do okay, although I'd like to see Judge Pigott get the nod. Moving him into the middle chair would give Governor Patterson a second pick (as would moving Judge Jones, obviously), and it would allow the selection committee to re-boot. Justice Fisher would reapply, because he really wants this gig, and presumably there would be some candidates from different backgrounds that would submit applications as well.

UPDATE: Apparently Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, the senior associate judge on the Court, did apply. I've appeared before Judge Ciparick, back when she was a Supreme Court Justice, and I am surprised that she did not make the cut. I don't know enough about the way the Commission goes about its process to comment beyond that, but it does explain why Patterson is put out. It makes sense that he should have had all three of the presently sitting Associate Judges who applied to pick from.

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