Kathy Hochul must pick 1 out of 7 to become Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals

While many New Yorkers may not be paying attention this holiday season, they could feel the weight in the years to come Gov. Kathy Hochul selects to lead the state judiciary this December.

The newly elected Democrat will choose from a list of seven names unveiled this week by a state panel tasked with selecting candidates to become chief justice of the state appeals court.

“That’s going to be important for all New Yorkers,” Hochul said this week. “The court decides on an enormous range of issues – from home protection and business disputes to medical malpractice and voting rights.”

State law requires Hochul to announce a decision nominating a permanent replacement for former Presiding Judge Janet DiFiore between Dec. 8 and Dec. 23 after she resigned in an ethics investigation this summer.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul addresses supporters during the SOMOS conference at the El San Juan Hotel Fairmont on Thursday, November 10, 2022 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s choice of future chief justice could change everyday life for New Yorkers.
James Keivom

The state Senate then has 30 days to vote on whoever Hochul could pick from the list, which includes sitting state judges, long-time prosecutors, an attorney from a progressive nonprofit group, and even a doctor.

Here are the seven candidates for Chief Judge:

  • Anthony Cannataro is currently the acting Chief Justice, having been appointed to the Court of Appeals by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
  • Abbe Gluck, a Yale-trained attorney and physician, previously served under President Biden as lead counsel for the White House’s COVID-19 response.
  • Hector LaSalle runs the busy Appellate Division, Second Department in Brooklyn, where his Hochul administrative record might stand out.
  • Jeffrey Oing, Associate Justice at the Appellate Division, First Department in Manhattan, may become the first Asian American to head the Court of Appeals.
  • Alicia Ouellette is the Dean of Albany Law School, a disability expert, and former Assistant Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General.
  • Edwina Richardson-Mendelson could be the first black woman to become chief justice after serving on the Court of Claims and overseeing anti-bias initiatives under DiFiore.
  • Corey Stoughton is a veteran criminal defense attorney who has worked for the Legal Aid Society and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Ultimately, who becomes the next chief justice could upset the court’s ideological balance, which has tilted to the right in recent years despite the progressive leanings of state politics.

A decision that particularly angered Democrats this year saw the appeals court overturn new congressional lines endorsed by the Albany Democrats, paving the way for Republicans to take control of the US House of Representatives this fall.

This undated photo provided by the United Court System of New York State shows Anthony Cannataro, the citywide administrative judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York and a judge of the New York State Supreme Court.

Anthony Cannataro, the Acting Chief Justice, was appointed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Judge Jeffrey K. Oing to the Appellate Division of the First Division of the New York State Supreme Court on June 12, 2017.

Jeffrey Oing may be the first Asian American to head New York’s Court of Appeals.

Alicia Ouellette is the 18th President and Dean of Albany Law School.

Alicia Ouellette currently serves as Dean of Albany Law School.

State lawmakers have said they are looking for someone who will lead the appeals court in a more progressive direction compared to his time under DiFiore’s leadership.

“We will take a closer look at their writings, their managerial experience and their opinions to confirm whether they reflect the opinions of most New Yorkers and will protect laws that are important to us, whether it’s rent stabilization or criminal justice reform,” it said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brad Hoylman, whose committee will consider the nomination, said Friday.

Picking someone like Acting Chief Justice Cannataro, whose selection would open another seat for Hochul, might signal tacit approval of the status quo, while picking like Stoughton, a veteran attorney with nonprofit organizations like The Legal Aid Society and the New York Civil Liberties , signaled Union could push the courts in a progressive direction.

Corey Stoughton is a veteran criminal defense attorney who has worked for the Legal Aid Society and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Corey Stoughton worked for the New York Civil Liberties Union for some time.

Hector Lasalle

Hector LaSalle works in the appeals department in Brooklyn.


Edwina Richardson-Mendelson worked at the New York Court of Claims.

Abbe R. Gluck is the Alfred M. Rankin Professor of Law and Founding Faculty Director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School.

Abbe Gluck was the lead attorney for the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response unit.

Some of the nominees also reflect ways to make the court more racially diverse, although experts say all nominees appear impressive in their own way.

Hochul has said she is looking for someone capable of getting grand juries back on schedule amid a backlog in cases caused by the pandemic, which could benefit a candidate like Hector LaSalle, who has experience on the line a hectic appeals department in Brooklyn.

“That’s quite an extraordinary list,” Albany Law School professor Vincent Bonventre, a longtime Court of Appeals observer, told The Post on Friday. “Each of them has a very good reputation. They have very impressive testimonials and backgrounds.”

He added that the next chief justice will have their job cut out for them given how far the appeals court has fallen in recent years from being the model it once was for the rest of the nation.

“The Court of Appeal is far from the court it has traditionally been,” Bonventre said. “I don’t think you’ll find anyone who will honestly tell you it is.”

https://nypost.com/2022/11/25/kathy-hochul-must-pick-1-of-7-to-be-ny-court-of-appeals-chief-judge/ Kathy Hochul must pick 1 out of 7 to become Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing diza@ustimetoday.com.

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