Staten Island To Declare Judicial Independence
Today both houses of the New York State Legislature will give passage to legislation that will create the thirteenth judicial district consisting of the county of Richmond. The legislation, S.1325-B, sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza and Assemblyman Michael Cusick, will give Richmond County equal footing in the selection of justices to the State's Supreme Court.
Nominations for State Supreme Court justices are elected in a process which reflects the population of each county that comprises a judicial district. This process was deemed unconstitutional in the case of Lopez-Torres v. New York State Board of Elections. It was determined that one county in a district could receive, by virtue of its population size, a monopoly of power in the selection of justices to the State's Supreme Court.
"This historic legislation represents a great victory in Staten Island’s decades long quest for its own judicial district. It will result in the fairness and equity the people of Staten Island deserve," said Senator Andrew Lanza (R - Staten Island). Without the creation of a separate Judicial District comprised solely of Richmond County, Staten Island would continue to lack say in the process for selection of justices to the State's Supreme Court. I hope that all Staten Islanders recognize June 21, the first day of summer, as Judicial Independence day on Staten Island," said Senator Lanza.
Assemblyman Michael Cusick said, "This is a great day for Staten Island. It is testimony to the legislative team we have working here in Albany on behalf of all Staten Islanders. This day was twenty years in the making, giving the residents of Staten Island the right to pick their own judges."
"Assemblyman Cusick and I will be in contact with Governor Spitzer to persuade him of the importance of getting this signed into law," Senator Lanza concluded.