Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Vacancies are Coming!--The Entire NY Court of Appeals Soon to be [newly/re]Appointed

Beginning this year, there will be a flurry of retirements and expiring terms at the Court of Appeals.
                          (click to enlarge)
In December, Judge Carmen Ciparick will leave the Court, as required by New York's (moronic, in my view) mandatory age 70 retirement for Judges on the state's highest tribunal. [Pictorial on all the Judges, below.]
By January 2017, every current member of the Court of Appeals will face retirement. Either because of age or because their terms--14 years--have expired. Of course, those Judges who have not yet reached the turn-into-a-pumpkin age of 70 when their terms expire may be reappointed by the Governor.

And that gets us to the other point. The gubernatorial appointment power. Assuming Governor Andrew Cuomo wins reelection in 2014--a seemingly sure bet at this time--he will have the opportunity to remake the entire Court of Appeals.

Yes. Each one of the 7 seats on New York's high court will become vacant by the mid-point of Cuomo's presumed 2nd term. He will get to make new appointments to fill the vacancies created by mandatory age retirements (5). And he will get to either reappoint the Judges whose terms are expiring or make new appointments to fill their seats (2).

So--again presuming he's reelected--Governor Andrew Cuomo will get to appoint every member of the Court of Appeals. Just like Governor Mario Cuomo was able to do. Digest that for a while.

To be sure, the Supreme Court gets more attention. That's to be expected. But, for New Yorkers, as well as everyone else who lives or works or visits here, the New York Court of Appeals is, in many ways, much more important.

It is the Court of Appeals--those Judges--who usually have the final say over the most fundamental questions about rights and responsibilities, about liabilities and entitlements--for New York State. And even beyond that, the New York high court's decisions are persuasive precedent, historically and today, for other states all around the country. [Again, pictorial on all the Judges, below.]

In the meantime, here's a pictorial of all current members of the Court of Appeals, including the dates their respective terms end, as well as some other info to consider when considering the ramifications of an all-Andrew Cuomo Court!