Crown Heights

Brooklyn Dem Party Leader meets and lauds Hon. Rowan D. Wilson, Gov. Hochul’s ‘historic’ nominee for New York’s top judge

Brooklyn Dems' Party Chair Bichotte Hermelyn celebrates and supports potential first Black New York Chief Judge

April 13, 2023 Special from In Public Service
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CROWN HEIGHTS — After Gov. Kathy Hochul’s first pick for New York’s highest court was rejected by the State Senate in February, on Monday the Governor nominated Hon. Rowan D. Wilson to the position, and it was met with praise by the supportive Brooklyn Democratic Party and its Chair, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (AD 42), who is also the Assembly Majority Whip.

Hon. Rowan D. Wilson.


Brooklyn Democratic Party Leadership Meets with Hon. Rowan D. Wilson

Party Chair Bichotte Hermelyn and fellow Assemblymember/District Leader Nikki Lucas (AD 60) had an exclusive meeting with Rowan D. Wilson yesterday in Crown Heights. Both were longtime advocates of the nominee, having written a letter along with other legislators in support of the pick to ally Gov. Hochul, praising the Associate Judge’s track record during his five-year tenure.


Meeting of Political Pioneers for a Better Brooklyn. (Left to Right) Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Nikki Lucas and Rowan D. Wilson.

“We had a productive meeting that further reaffirmed what we already knew about Wilson’s ability to be an outstanding top judge of NY’s highest court; bringing innovative leadership to the system while maintaining judicial values that benefit all New Yorkers,” Bichotte Hermelyn said.

(Left to Right) Nikki Lucas, Rowan D. Wilson and Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn.


Hon. Wilson ‘Upholding our progressive Democratic values’

Gov. Hochul’s first nominee, Hector LaSalle, was rejected by the State Senate amid some concerns over his judicial record. The Senate’s Democratic majority signaled early support for Wilson, and the Brooklyn Dems’ Chair Bichotte Hermelyn and District Leader Lucas spoke on their continued advocacy.

(Left to Right) Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Rowan D. Wilson and Nikki Lucas talking outside of Cafe Rue Dix in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

“Judge Wilson has a longstanding track record of fair, prudent and impartial judicial rulings in the Appellate Court that have uplifted New Yorkers while upholding our progressive Democratic values — and he is well-suited to lead our Great State’s highest court system,” Bichotte Hermelyn said. 

“Hon. Rowan Wilson has an outstanding five-year track record of rulings aimed at protecting New Yorkers’ rights, especially the most vulnerable,” Lucas added. 

With decisions being made by federal courts “on vital issues including abortion and gun rights, the importance of having a progressive champion as NY’s Chief Judge cannot be overstated enough,” Bichotte Hermelyn continued. 


Diversifying Our Court System with First Black Nominated Chief Judge

“The Brooklyn Democratic Party welcomes and celebrates Governor Kathy Hochul’s historic and astute nomination of Hon. Rowan D. Wilson as New York’s Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals,” said Bichotte Hermelyn. “I also applaud Governor Hochul for making an excellent selection to further diversify our court system, with Wilson being the first Black to be nominated as Chief Judge.”

Gov. Hochul selected Associate Judge Rowan Wilson from a list of seven finalists for the top role — which entails oversight of the State’s entire judicial branch and its budget. He would continue to serve as one of seven judges on the state’s highest court.

Wilson “has steadfastly served as an Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals since being nominated by former Gov. Cuomo in 2017,” Bichotte Hermelyn noted. 


A ‘Pioneering Trailblazer’

If confirmed, Wilson would be the first Black person to serve as chief judge. The Brooklyn Democratic Party’s first Black Chair Bichotte Hermelyn lauded the fellow “pioneering trailblazer” — stating that “Hon. Wilson is a highly accomplished and pioneering Judge who reflects and keenly understands the beautiful diversity of our Great State.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Judge Wilson broke barriers. As the Brooklyn Dems’ Party Chair noted, Wilson already “blazed a path as the 1st Black partner at Cravath Swaith and Moore.” Wilson began working at the prestigious White Shoe firm in 1986, and “remarkably rose up the career ladder and broke barriers due to his acumen” to become partner in 1992.

Bichotte Hermelyn recently honored Judge Wilson at a Black History Month event for the Second Court of Appeals, the Brooklyn Eagle reported, praising both his acumen and for being a Black pioneer in the legal field.

The Assembly Majority Whip and Democratic Party Chair also praised Wilson’s mix of vast private and public sector experience: “Hon. Wilson is in the State’s Highest Court because he is a dedicated public servant providing a crucial perspective of our justice system with decades of prestigious experience in the private and public sector.”“This is a historic moment and a well-deserved one for a trailblazer who has steadfastly served as an Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals since 2017,” concluded Bichotte Hermelyn. 

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