In the first rating of Court of Appeals nominees by a major bar group, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association has found all seven candidates qualified but reserved its highest praise, "highly qualified and highly recommended," for three Appellate Division, justices: Sheila Abdus-Salaam and Rolando Acosta of the First Department, and Eugene Fahey of the Fourth.
Jenny Rivera, a professor at the City University of New York School of Law, was deemed "qualified and recommended" and the final three, Margarita Rosa, executive director of the Grand Street Settlement, David Schulz of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, and Kathy Hirata Chin of Cadwalader, Wickersman & Taft were found "qualified."
According to the bar group, the ratings were based on interviews conducted with the candidates on Dec. 13, an analysis of their opinions or legal writings and a review of the questionnaire each submitted to the Commission on Judicial Nomination. Governor Andrew Cuomo must choose from the seven in selecting a replacement for Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, who will retire at the end of the year. Cuomo must make the appointment, subject to Senate confirmation, between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15.