NYS Bar Association sends Chief Judge ratings to Gov. Hochul: Acting Chief Judge Anthony Cannataro not rated ‘well qualified’

April 7, 2023 Robert Abruzzese
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STATEWIDE — The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) has submitted its ratings for the seven candidates being considered for the state’s chief judge to Gov. Kathy Hochul and it’s unlikely that the acting chief judge nor The Legal Aid Society are happy about it.

The Commission on Judicial Nomination selected candidates to be the State’s next chief judge for Hochul to pick through. Of the seven, five were rated to be “well qualified” — Hon. Elizabeth Garry, the presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, Caitlin Halligan, a partner at Selendy Gay Elsberg, Hon. Shirley Troutman, of the NYS Court of Appeals, Hon. Gerald Whalen, presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, and Hon. Rowan Wilson, of the NYS Court of Appeals.

Only two were determined to have been considered “qualified” — Hon. Anthony Cannataro, the acting chief judge of the Court of Appeals, and Corey Stoughton, attorney-in-charge at The Legal Aid Society. No candidates were deemed to be “unqualified.”

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The NYSBA assessed each candidate based on their professional ability, experience, character, temperament, and other attributes. The evaluation process involved a thorough examination of each candidate’s qualifications and background, as well as conducting interviews.

According to the association’s guidelines, “qualified” refers to candidates who have demonstrated the necessary qualifications for the position, while “well qualified” is reserved for those with exceptional qualifications.

The governor must choose one of the candidates by April 23. The state Senate must confirm the nominee within 30 days.

The chief judge of the Court of Appeals oversees the operations of the state’s Unified Court System, which has more than 16,000 employees and an annual budget of $3 billion.

The New York State Bar Association has been evaluating candidates for the Court of Appeals since 1967. The Commission on Judicial Nomination was established in 1978 to assess and recommend candidates for appointment to the high court.

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