Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When a vacancy occurs in New York State Supreme Court a merit selection process is used to fill the spot. A judicial screening panel all applicants, then makes a recommendation to the governor. The committee is composed of five appointments made by the governor, two from the Legislature, two from the state's chief judge, one from the New York State Bar Association, one from the presiding justice of the Department of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court where the vacancy occurred and two from the attorney general. The person appointed has to stand for election the following November, but the advantages of incumbency are pretty powerful, and it is rare for candidates running with "Judge" in front of their name to lose. When you are a judge, fund raising is a lot easier. The list of panel members on the NYS Court website appears a bit out of date, but when last constituted these were the members and who they were appointed by: Dianne Bennett, Esq. - CHAIR (Governor)Hodgson Russ LLP; Bob Witmer, Esq.(Governor)Nixon Peabody LLP;
Robert P. Fine, Esq. (Governor) Hurwitz & Fine, P.C.; Vincent E. Doyle III, Esq.
(Chief Judge Judith Kaye),Connors & Vilardo LLP; Sharon M. Porcellio, Esq.
(Chief Judge Judith Kaye) Ward Norris Heller & Reidy LLP; John A. Cirando, Esq.
(Presiding Justice, Henry J. Scudder)D.J. & J.A. Cirando; Philip Spellane, Esq.
(Temporary President of the Senate, Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Tedisco); Harris Beach PLLC; and A. Vincent Buzard, Esq.,(NYS Bar Association). Two of the governor's slots and two of the AG's slots are open, as is a slot that the Legislature fills.

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