A Legal Victory for the Staten Island McMahons

Jerry Goldfeder, the election attorney who most recently worked for Andrew Cuomo, just won a court case decision from the city Board of Elections, where he was representing the Democratic Party of Staten Island. The organization’s petitions for the judicial race in the borough had been challenged by Republicans.

It’s a countywide seat, and among the Democratic candidates is Judith McMahon, wife of City Councilman Mike McMahon, the Democratic candidate the party is backing in the district’s Congressional race. (Steve Harrison is also running in the primary).

The court B.O.E. decision paves the way for the judicial election to proceed, pitting Judith McMahon against Republican Joseph Maltese.

Here’s the legal explanation of the court ruling, from the press release sent by Goldfeder’s new firm, Stroock, Stroock, & Lavan:

The challenge was based upon the Republican Party’s allegation that a Staten Island-only Judicial District (the 13th Judicial District) has been created by the New York State Legislature, and the Democrats nominated Judicial Delegates for the existing Brooklyn-Staten Island Judicial District (the 2nd Judicial District). Although the Richmond Democrats supported the creation of a Staten Island-only Judicial District, the New York law takes effect on January 1, 2009, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) has yet to "pre-clear" the change in Judicial Districts as required by the Voting Rights Act.

Mr. Goldfeder explained, “The Richmond Democrats were compelled by law to circulate and file petitions for the existing Judicial District.”

This victory is significant in that the Democratic Party will be able to hold its Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Convention in the fall.