With at least four bar groups rating the seven nominees for the Court of Appeals, Justice Rolando Acosto of the Appellate Division, First Department, is the only one to garner the highest possible assessment from the New York State Bar Association, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, the Women's Bar of the State of New York and the New York City Bar.
Acosta this week was rated "well-qualified" by the state bar, "highly qualified and commended" by the women's bar, "highly qualified and highly recommended" by the trial lawyers and "exceptionally well-qualified" by the city bar. He is the only candidate to obtain the top rating from all four of the groups, although Fourth Department Justice Eugene Fahey of Buffalo, and First Department Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam were close.
Fahey received the highest rating from the trial lawyers, state bar and women's bar, but the city bar found him "well-qualified" rather than "exceptionally well-qualified." Abdus-Salaam garnered the highest scores from all but the women's bar, which found her "approved."
Margarita Rosa, executive director of the Grand Street settlement, is the only candidate who received a negative rating. The state bar found her unqualified, but the other three groups found her at least qualified to succeed Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, who is retiring on Dec. 31.
The other three nomineesDavid Schulz of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, Kathy Chin of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and CUNY Law Professor Jenny Riverawere all found "well-qualified" by the state bar. Schulz also received the highest rating from the women's bar.
Governor Andrew Cuomo must select the next judge, subject to Senate confirmation, between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15.