Thursday, April 4, 2013

NYCOA: Who's on the List for the Jones' Vacancy? (Part 4: the 4 non-Blacks)

OK, let's just be blunt. There seems little chance that Governor Cuomo will select someone who's White.

Cuomo's pick will fill the vacancy created by the tragic death of  Judge Theodore Jones, the only African-American on the Court of Appeals at the time. It is very unlikely that Cuomo would want to leave New York's high court all White. Stated otherwise, it is very likely that he would want to replace a Black Judge with someone who's Black.
[His father, Governor Mario Cuomo, did exactly that when he replaced Judge Fritz Alexander with George Bundy Smith. See Cuomo Says He'll Name Black Judge To Top Court, NY Times, Aug. 25, 1992.]

Soooo, although there are 4 Whites on the list, court and political watchers don't give any of them much of a chance to be selected. The most likely pick will be one of the 3 Blacks on the list: Sheila Abdus-Salaam, Dianne Renwick, or Rowan Wilson.
[See discussions about them in Part 2: Rowan Wilson, and Part 3: Abdus-Salaam & Renwick.]

Nevertheless, let's look, however briefly, at each of these 4 White individuals on the Court of Appeals list. Who really knows? It is possible that the current Governor Cuomo will fool us all and pick one of them.

Eugene Fahey
He was on the last list.
He's been a Justice on New York's intermediate appeals court--specifically, the Appellate Division  Fourth Department, which sits in Rochester--for 6 years.
He was a trial judge for 11 years before that.
He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from SUNY Buffalo; he also earned a masters degree in European history from that university.
He's 61 and lives in Buffalo.
Like every other individual on the list, he's a Democrat.

John Leventhal
He was not on the last list. (Don't know whether he had applied.)
He's been a Justice on the Appellate Division, Second Department--which sits in Brooklyn--for 5 years.
He was a trial judge for 12 years before that.
He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and Brooklyn Law School; he also has a masters degree in urban affairs from Hunter College.
He is 64 and lives in Brooklyn.

David Schulz
He has been on 2 prior lists, including the last one.
He's been in private practice since his graduation from law school in 1979, and is recognized as one of the nation's leading 1st Amendment litigators.
He is a graduate of Knox College in Illinois, and Yale Law School; he also has a masters degree in economics from Yale.
He teaches courses at both Yale and Columbia Law Schools.
He is 60, lives in Manhattan, and is openly gay.

Maria Vullo
She was not on the last list. (Don't know if she had applied.)
She has been in private practice for 25 years, and is currently a partner at Paul, Weiss.
She is a graduate of the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, NY, and NYU Law School; she also has a masters degree in public administration from NYU.
She served as an Executive Deputy Attorney General for Andrew Cuomo when he was New York's Attorney General.
She is 49 and lives in Manhattan.

So there they are. Together with the 3 African-Americans on the list who we discussed in the 2 previous posts, they comprise the 7 individuals on the list presented to Governor Andrew Cuomo by the Commission on Judicial Nomination currently chaired by former Chief Judge Judith Kaye.

The Governor must pick from the list, and must do so by this Saturday April 6. The chances are he will do so Friday. Then the Senate Judiciary Committee will get its opportunity to weigh in on the Governor's nominee.

So there will always be lots to discuss!