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Judicial commission to move quickly to replace Abdus-Salaam

Chief Judge DiFiore Offers Praise for Quick Response

May 8, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The NYS Commission on Judicial Nomination is expected to move quickly to replace Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, who died unexpectedly last month. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo came calling and the New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination responded much to the delight of the state’s Chief Judge Janet DiFiore.

The New York State Court of Appeals has been shorthanded following the untimely death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam in April. On Friday, Cuomo called upon the Commission to quickly recommend candidates so that the vacancy could be filled before the end of the legislative session in June.

“We continue to mourn the passing of Judge Abdus-Salaam, an exceptionally talented and beloved member of the state’s highest court,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The Court of Appeals is a pillar of our judicial system, and it is unacceptable for the court to go months without a full bench.

“Today, I am calling on the Commission on Judicial Nomination to accelerate the process to fill the new vacancy to allow for the state Senate to take up confirmation before the conclusion of this year’s legislative session at the end of June,” Cuomo continued.

The Commission, which is accepting applications until May 19, responded later that day confirming that they would act quickly in order to meet Cuomo’s deadline.

“The Commission is mindful of the extraordinary circumstances presented by the untimely passing of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, and the need to ensure the current vacancy on the Court of Appeals is filled swiftly. The Commission will promptly discharge its constitutional and statutory responsibilities, and nominate and recommend to the governor three to seven well-qualified candidates from the extraordinary, diverse community of lawyers admitted to practice in New York state.”

The court is currently at six members. Its next session date is Tuesday, May 30. The state Senate must confirm any nomination to the court before they are officially named to the bench.

“I am pleased to learn that the Commission on Judicial Nomination will endeavor to expedite the process to fill the vacancy on the Court of Appeals created by the untimely passing of our friend and colleague Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam,” said DiFiore. “We appreciate the efforts of the Commission, the governor and the Senate to work to bring our court to its full complement of judges at the earliest time.”


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