Statement from Senator Dilan on the Recommendations of the Judicial Nominating Commission

Martin Malavé Dilan

December 04, 2008

As many individuals have already stated, the list of seven candidates that the Judicial Nominating Commission has offered Governor Paterson is perplexing to say the least. I do however, want to commend all seven of the nominees put forth by the commission for their years of service and their impeccable records. Nevertheless, I find it extremely hard to believe that there is not one Latino or one woman who may be qualified to serve as the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. It is an insult that according to this commission, no Latino – man or woman – is qualified for this position. What message will Latino’s from across this State take away from this? What message does this send to our young women?

The point here is that New York State is incredibly diverse; home to some 19 million people from all different ethnicities and walks of life. For a Judicial Nominating Commission to only come up with six white men and a single African American man does nothing to represent the true diversity of this great State. Governor Paterson is being given little choice when it comes to choosing the next Chief Judge in New York. With all due respect, I agree with calls to give this screening process a closer look. It is outrageous that according to this independent Judicial Nominating Commission, no Latinos and no women across New York State have the "…integrity, sound judgment, judicial temperament, and high intellectual quality and writing ability" that according to Commission Chairman John F. O’Mara, is required to be a Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.

With the nominations as they currently stand – it is my opinion that we have done a great disservice to the constituency of this State by threatening their faith in government, a government that should and must be reflective of all people that it serves.