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New York Governor David Paterson Rejects All-Male Judicial Appointment List of Candidates

On Wednesday, December 3rd, New York Governor David Paterson held a press conference where he critized a list of candidates for chief judge of the state Court of Appeals.  "I don't accept," he said, "that there wasn't a woman in this state that was qualified to serve on the Court of Appeals."

The list of candidates was issued by a state commission.  Under state law, the governor technically must choose a candidate from amongst the commission's selection of candidates.  By refusing to accept the commission's list of candidates, Governor Paterson is entering previously unchartered water.  He has asked New York Attorney General to look into whether it is possible to expand the list of possible candidates or change the selection process entirely.

Governor Paterson is not the only person criticizing the commission's candidate selection.  Attorney General Cuomo said on Wednesday: "To circumscribe, limit the governor to only men, and for the commission to say, 'We searched the state, we couldn't find a single, solitary qualified women to serve on the bench' - something is wrong.  We will explore the available legal options, discussing it with the governor and his team and deciding where to go from here."

Governor Paterson will ultimately take into account the commission's recommendations, but is also having his chief counsel, Peter Kiernan, explore his legal options to expand the list or change the selection process.

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