The daughter of GOP leader Joseph Cairo has been nominated for the New York Supreme Court

GOP officials have nominated the daughter of Nassau County Republican Party leader Joseph Cairo for the state Supreme Court justice — with support from the rival Democratic Party, sources close to the selection process said Wednesday.

The bipartisan deal guarantees that Lisa Cairo, currently a family court judge, will be elected to the state Supreme Court without a challenge.

“Cairo is making his daughter a Supreme Court Justice. How does it look like? It’s nepotism 101,” snapped a source close to the Nassau Republican Party.

Democratic and Republican leaders have struck a bipartisan pact to split judgeships evenly and avoid having to spend huge sums on judges’ races. The party bosses would rather raise funds and devote resources to national and legislative races, sources said.

While the bipartisan selection process is good for the lucky few who are nominated, it limits competition from others who wish to serve on the bench.

Cairo has bipartisan support for the position.
GOP officials nominated Lisa Cairo, the daughter of Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Cairo, for the state Supreme Court Justice.

The revelation comes a day after video surfaced of Frank Seddio, the former Democratic leader of Brooklyn, threatening to “rip the frigging heart out” of a party activist for disagreeing with him over judgeships.

Joseph Cairo, an attorney who is also president of Nassau County Off Track Betting Corporation, declined to comment.

But Nassau County GOP spokesman Mike Deery defended Lisa Cairo’s selection.

“The delegates of the 10th Circuit unanimously nominated the seniors
Distinguished Family Court Judge Lisa A. Cairo for the Supreme Court,” Deery said.

The statement noted that Lisa Cairo was deemed “well qualified” by the Nassau County Bar Association’s Judiciary Examination Committee.

Lisa Cairo is a past President of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association.

“The Nassau County Republican Committee is pleased when outstanding and talented women are promoted to positions of trust and responsibility. Accordingly, we congratulate Lisa A. Cairo on her nomination to the Supreme Court,” said Deery.

Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs confirmed Lisa Cairo’s bipartisan nomination to the bench.

“Your name is going to get people’s attention,” admitted Jacobs.

But Jacobs, who also serves as chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, defended Lisa Cairo’s nomination, saying, “She’s certainly qualified to do the job.”

“Lisa Cairo is respected everywhere, regardless of her father’s position,” he said.

Lisa Cairo was formerly the legal partner of Steve Schlesinger, former legal counsel for the Nassau County Democratic Party. He also praised their qualifications and work ethic.

“If she wasn’t Joe Cairo’s daughter, people would say that Lisa is a great choice for the bench. The only black spot is that she happens to be Joe Cairo’s daughter,” Schlesinger said.

Retired Court of Appeal Judge David Saxe said he was ok with bipartisan confirmations for judgeships as long as there was a rigorous review process.

“I see nothing wrong with cross-endorsements as long as the judges are reviewed by a committee made up of various community interests. Court elections between party candidates turn judges into politicians — not a desirable outcome,” said Saxe, now a partner at law firm Morrison Cohen. The daughter of GOP leader Joseph Cairo has been nominated for the New York Supreme Court


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