“As a New York State Senator and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I take my responsibility of questioning and confirming judicial nominees very seriously. The Court of Appeals is New York’s highest court, and with every vacancy we have a responsibility to confirm judges who reflect our state’s diversity, understand the lived experiences of working class New Yorkers, and prioritize the rights of all New Yorkers within the criminal justice system.
Justice Shirley Troutman is a well-qualified nominee, and I am confident she will bring her personal and extensive professional experience to every case that comes before her in her new role on the bench. As a Black woman serving in Western New York, with experience as a trial and appellate judge, Justice Troutman has a holistic understanding of the law and the ways in which our criminal justice system has failed New Yorkers. For these reasons, I voted in favor of Justice Troutman’s confirmation to the Court of Appeals. New Yorkers are counting on Justice Troutman’s wide-ranging perspectives and thoughtfulness as a jurist to benefit the Court of Appeals, and for the sake of New York’s most vulnerable, I know she will not let us down.
As we look to future vacancies, I have serious concerns regarding the lack of professional diversity on the bench. The absence of public defenders and civil rights attorneys hinders New York’s highest court from protecting and advancing the rights of criminal defendants, and leads to only a narrow application of the Court’s full power. I implore the Commission on Judicial Nominations and the Executive to make it their highest priority to select their next candidate from non-traditional legal backgrounds and those without a prosecutorial background for future seats on the Court.”