ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Senate will begin considering Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s choice to preside at the state’s highest court and oversee the judiciary.
Janet DiFiore has been Westchester County district attorney for a decade. If confirmed, she would preside at the seven-member Court of Appeals that often makes case law for New York.
The 60-year-old DiFiore would replace Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who had to retire this year after turning 70 last year.
Cuomo nominated her from a list of seven lawyers advanced by a state commission that found them well qualified among 33 applicants. Others included former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia and former New York Chief Administrative Judge Gail Prudenti.
“Chief judge is a very, very important position and I think she’s going to do an extraordinary job,” Cuomo said in December when he announced the nomination. “She has served as both judge and prosecutor, and has spent her career working to ensure justice and fairness for New Yorkers.”
If confirmed, DiFiore would become the state’s second female chief judge. The late Judith Kaye, who served in the position from 1993-2008, was the first.
Appointments to the top court are for 14 years. DiFiore would have to retire before that.
DiFiore was also Cuomo’s first appointee to head the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, resigning in 2013.
She was a Westchester County Court Judge from January 1999 to December 2002 and elected to state Supreme Court serving from 2003 to May 2005.
Cuomo has yet to choose a nominee for another vacancy on the top court that followed Judge Susan Read’s retirement.
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