"This is someone who might fall into the category of critical legal theorist or critical legal feminist, somebody who looks at these issues…from a very, very different angle," Bonventre said. "There just isn't any question in my mind that if the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee read her stuff, some of them will be a little uncomfortable with it, not because there is anything 'bad' in there, but it may be a kind of scholarship they are not used to. It is the kind of legal scholarship that says in society, in the legal profession, this is what is happening to women, this is what is happening to Latinas at home, and the law is not addressing it."
Senator John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that he is looking forward to meeting with the nominee to "discuss her background, qualifications, and areas of legal interest." He encouraged anyone wishing to express an opinion to send an email to Judiciary@NYSenate.gov.
No Judicial Background
Steven Zeidman, a CUNY Law professor, said "Law professors bring much to the judicial table… That training and mindset seems just right for a judge." Zeidman, a longtime advocate of merit appointment of judges, said this nomination is further evidence of the value of appointing rather than electing judges.
"It is hard for me to imagine a law professor coming out of an elective system," Zeidman said. "In systems where judges are elected, candidates have to one way or another navigate the political process. Just the thought of that causes many terrific candidates to abandon pursuing a career on the bench," he said.
Cuomo made the selection, his first to the state's highest court since becoming governor in 2011, from a list of seven candidates recommended by the Commission on Judicial Nomination (NYLJ, Dec. 4).
The confirmation process involves a hearing before the Judiciary Committee and a vote by the committee and the full Senate. The process for a candidate who is new to the court typically takes about a month.
No gubernatorial nominee has failed to win confirmation since governors began selecting the Court of Appeals' members in 1978.