Senator Ruben Diaz Abstains From Selection Process of Judge Lippman

Ruben Diaz

February 11, 2009

New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) abstained from voting – for the first time ever as a Member of State Senate Judiciary Committee – for the selection of Judge Jonathan Lippman as Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals.

Senator Ruben Diaz, Senator Pedro Espada and Senator Hiram Monserrate walked out of today’s Senate Session hearing nomination vote in protest against the discriminatory way the selection process was conducted.

Senator Diaz stated, "I have nothing against Judge Lippman. I do, however, have a problem with the way Judge Lippman was selected. The Committee for Judicial Seletion gave Governor Paterson a list of 7 candidates, - no women – and I will not take part in this process. The resumes, experience and education of two highly qualified women, Justice Fern A. Fisher and Justice Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick show a combined experience of over 32 years in the legal profession. The Senate selection process cast a cloud over this vote by not permitting these well-qualified women to compete."

The issue of diversity in selecting candidates for the highest judicial position has not been put forward by the Committee on Judicial Nominations. In New York State, the selection for various positions should show diversity in leadership in the judicial field. While there is no mandate for the ultimate selection of a woman or "minority" Chief Judge, their considerations should be included in the process as long as they are as qualified as the two women mentioned above.

For further comment, please contact Senator Diaz at 718496-4793.