Paterson Not at All Pleased by Judicial Nominees

ALBANY—David Paterson said a list of nominees to replace retiring Chief Judge Judith Kaye, the state’s top judge, was “disturbing” on first impression.

“I haven’t gotten a chance to look at the list other than a couple of preliminary, just, comments that were made to me, that have seen the list, that it’s disturbing,” Paterson said in response to a question by Joel Stashenko of the NY Law Journal. “That was my reaction.”

Paterson did not explain his comment, and a local television reporter changed the subject of questioning. After the Monday afternoon press conference ended, Paterson spokesman Errol Cockfield explained what the governor meant: “The list of initial appointees that was presented to the governor doesn’t reflect the diversity he would like to see on the court.”

Cockfield said that included gender as well as race. There are currently three women besides Kaye sitting on the court and one African-American, but no one of Hispanic descent. All of the nominees are men.

Under the state constitution, Paterson is obligated to chose from among the nominees presented by the screening commission (which is jointly appointed by Paterson the governor, the chief judge and legislative leaders). The appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.

CORRECTION: This post was changed to reflect that Paterson has only made one appointment to the judicial nominating commission since taking office.

Paterson Not at All Pleased by Judicial Nominees