Judicial Committee Says Process Was Transparent

ALBANY—After being publicly called out by David Paterson and Andrew Cuomo for overseeing a process that yielded seven men for the head judge's spot on the Court of Appeals, the chairman of the Commission on Judicial Nomination wrote that his nomination process was transparent and thorough.

"This chief judge vacancy was one of the most widely publicized and discussed in the history of the Commission," John O'Mara, the current chairman of the 12-member commission, wrote in a letter to Paterson.

Announcements of the vacancy and requests for applications were sent to all newspapers in the State of New York on three occasions, beginning in June of 2008. By the time of the September, 8, 2008 application deadline, various newspaper articles had appeared highlighting Chief Judge Kaye's upcoming retirement, and the Commission's request for applications had appeared three times on the front page of the New York Law Journal, the most widely read legal periodical in New York. Additionally, in July the 2008, the Commission sent letter requesting recommendations to the deans of every law school in New York, as well as to 19 Bar organizations across the State. Moreover, Commissioners and Commission staff personally spoke to and encouraged applications from dozens of potential candidates from a wide range of backgrounds, including college and law school deans, professors, state solicitor generals, former prosecutors, in-house counsel and prominent attorneys in private practice. I also understand that Commission staff spoke on several occasions to your Acting Counsel, encouraging your staff's input into these outreach efforts.

Paterson as well as several state senators criticized the Nominating Commission's work.

No immediate word from the governor's office.