Re: New York State Court of Appeals Vacancy PRBAs Position
In the near future, with the mandatory retirement of New York Court of Appeals Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, Governor Andrew Cuomo will have the opportunity to appoint judges to the Court of Appeals and the Court of Claims. Furthermore, with the recent passing of a great jurist, Hon. Theodore Jones, Governor Cuomo will have the opportunity to appoint two judges to the Court of Appeals.
Our judicial system deeply impacts the lives of ordinary people; its composition must reflect the people it serves. The Puerto Rican Bar Association is heartened by Governor Andrew Cuomos pledge to hire and make qualified and diverse judicial appointments. Appointments reflecting a representative cross-section of judicial candidates are critical and will inspire greater confidence in our judicial system.
Former Governor Mario Cuomo understood the importance of a diverse judicial bench. He appointed the first African-American and Latino males, and the first two women, to the Court of Appeals. Governor Mario Cuomos record on diverse appointments will be lauded for generations to come. It is a legacy he can be proud of.
One of our Governors privileges is the ability to appoint Judges to the State's Court of Appeals -- New Yorks highest court. Except in cases involving a Federal question, where the Supreme Court of the United States has the last word, the Court of Appeals is the final arbiter of New York law. Latinos have historically been underrepresented in the judicial system, despite the fact that Latinos disproportionately find themselves before the court.
Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in the nation. In New York, we are fortunate to have a pool of immensely qualified and diverse legal talent to draw upon. Our Governor has the unique opportunity to expand and enrich the judiciary. The Puerto Rican Bar Association urges Governor Cuomo to fulfill his promise of inclusion and make diversity a meaningful reality, not just a lofty goal.
Accordingly, the Puerto Rican Bar Association respectfully requests the Honorable Andrew Cuomo to make a prudent and progressive decision in selecting the next two Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals. Since there are many qualified Latinos/as, we urge the Governor to consider the importance of having a diverse bench and appoint at least one Latino/a to the vacant seats.