Very reliable sources with inside information are certain who the next Chief Judge will be. I have heard from some of them directly, some indirectly. It's apparently a sure bet who will be on the nominating commission's list and then be selected by Governor David Paterson.
Unfortunately, the reliable sources don't agree. They are making different predictions. Some names are mentioned more frequently than others. But each has been mentioned by at least one reliable source with considerable confidence.
Here are the various "sure bets":
Judge Theodore Jones - currently on the Court of Appeals; its junior member, having been appointed by Governor Spitzer in 2007.
He is well-liked and respected within the court; he has administrative experience as the former Administrative Judge of the civil term of state supreme court in Brooklyn; he is a liberal Democrat like the Governor; and his appointment would be historic as the first African-American Chief Judge in the state's history.
Judge Carmen Ciparick - on the court since 1994, she is currently its senior associate judge and, together with Chief Judge Kaye, all that remains of the Governor Cuomo-appointees.
She is liked, indeed loved, by her colleagues and apparently everyone who has worked with or for her; she is a liberal Democrat; she is the court's first Hispanic judge [No, Benjamin Cardozo is not considered Hispanic, but Portuguese.]; her appointment would be historic as the first Hispanic Chief Judge [No, again, regarding Cardozo.]; and supposedly her appointment would be a way to placate the three rebellious Hispanic Democratic state senators from New York City who are threatening to break from the Democratic caucus. [But these senators are reportedly opposed to the Dems' support for same-sex marriage, and Ciparick voted for it when the issue was at the court in Hernandez v. Robles.]
Presiding Justice Jonathan Lippman - on the Appellate Division, First Department since his appointment as PJ by Governor Spitzer in 2007.
A member of the state's judiciary since his appointment to the Court of Claims by Governor Pataki in 1995, his time has largely been spent on administration rather than adjudication; he served under Chief Judge Kaye as the Chief Administrative Judge of the state's courts from January 1996 to May 2007; he thus has considerable experience as an administrator and perhaps unequalled knowledge of the state court system; and he enjoys a reputation for being smart and skilled.
But, it is now a very long tradition that the Chief Judge comes from within the court. It has been over a century since someone from outside the court became Chief Judge; the last was Alton Parker in 1898.
O. Peter Sherwood - on the Court of Claims, appointed by Governor Paterson in April 2008, and currently serving as an acting justice of state supreme court in Manhattan.
A former state Solicitor General, then New York City's Corporation Counsel, then partner in Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in New York from 1994 until his judicial appointment earlier this year; his judicial decision-making experience is extremely thin; on the other hand his experience litigating cases before the Court of Appeals and other appeals courts, and, in general, his experience with the kinds of difficult and consequential cases that come before the Court of Appeals is vast; and his appointment (like that of Jones) would be historic as the first African-American Chief Judge in New York's history.
But, (as with Lippman) it is now a very long tradition that the Chief Judge comes from within the court. It has been over a century since someone from outside the court became Chief Judge; the last was Alton Parker in 1898.
So these are the "sure bets", each of which some reliable source says will be the next Chief Judge.