Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Appointment of Justice Stein

Defying History and Changing the Court of Appeals

By Joseph O'Rourke
Joseph O’Rourke is a third year law student at Albany Law School. He graduated magna cum laude from Siena College in 2012, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Philosophy. Joseph currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Albany Law Review, and has previously interned with Young/Sommer LLC and the Honorable Thomas J. McAvoy of the Northern District of New York.
This paper, comparing New York Court of Appeals nominee Justice Leslie Stein with former associate judge Victoria Graffeo, was prepared for the Judicial Process Seminar, Fall 2014.

[Following graduation, Mr. O'Rourke will serve as a law clerk on the Court of Appeals’ Central Legal Research Staff. Of course, the views expressed in his paper are his alone and in no way reflect those of the Court.  vmb]   

On October 17, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made his third nomination to New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals. The decision came just weeks before the election that determined whether Governor Cuomo would continue as governor for a second term, and it is proving to be the most controversial of Governor Cuomo’s first three selections for the Court. Controversial not because of whom the Governor selected, but rather who was passed over.

Governor Cuomo choose Appellate Division, Third Department Justice Leslie E. Stein, over Judge Victoria A. Graffeo, a sitting member of the Court of Appeals whose fourteen year term expired on November 29, 2014. The addition of Justice Stein, a Democrat, would shift control of the Court to Democrats for the first time in many years. Most notably, Stein's nomination by Cuomo marks only the second time in the thirty-five year history of the appointment system for the Court of Appeals where a governor failed to choose an eligible incumbent for reappointment.
To read the paper, open HERE.