ALBANY - Governor Andrew Cuomo will select the next associate judge of the state Court of Appeals from among seven candidates, including four appellate judges and three attorneys in private practice.
The Commission on Judicial Nomination forwarded its list of candidates to the governor yesterday to fill an opening created by the death of Theodore Jones Jr. in November.
The candidates endorsed by the commission are:
Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam, Appellate Division, First Department (See Profile)
Justice Eugene Fahey, Appellate Division, Fourth Department (See Profile)
Justice John Leventhal, Appellate Division, Second Department (See Profile)
Justice Dianne Renwick, Appellate Division, First Department (See Profile)
David Schulz, partner, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz
Maria Vullo, partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Rowan Wilson, partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
The candidates are all well qualified because of their "character, temperament, professional aptitude, experience, qualifications and fitness for office," the commission said.
Former Chief Judge Judith Kaye, the chairwoman of the commission, said the panel was impressed by the pool of applicants.
"That so many highly qualified candidates were interested in the current vacancy amply demonstrates the remarkable strength and depth of New York's legal community," Kaye said in a statement.
According to the commission, there were 71 applicants for the seat. Twenty-seven (38 percent) were women; 22 (31 percent) were minorities. The commission said it interviewed 37 candidates, including 15 women and 15 minority group members. Three of the candidates are black: Abdus-Salaam, Renwick and Wilson.
Kaye has made an expansion of the diversity of the Court of Appeals candidate pool a priority since she was selected as chair of the committee in 2010 by then-Governor David Paterson.
The commission said its pool of candidates for the Jones opening was similar to that which applied last year to succeed Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, who retired on Dec. 31. For that opening, 75 people applied, of whom 34 (47 percent) were women and 24 (32 percent) were minorities. Of the 36 candidates interviewed for Ciparick's seat, 17 were women and 18 were minorities.
Jones was the only black on the high court of a state in which blacks make up nearly 18 percent of the population. That has led to widespread speculation that Cuomo will be under intense political pressure to nominate a black candidate (NYLJ, March 4).