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New York City Bar Association Issues Evaluations of Candidates for Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals


Eric Friedman
(212) 382-6754

New York City Bar Association Issues Evaluations of Candidates for Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals

New York, November 6, 2015 – The New York City Bar Association has evaluated candidates recommended by the New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination for appointment as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, to fill the vacancy created by the mandatory-age retirement of Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.  The Association uses a two-tiered rating system to rate the candidates: Well Qualified and Not Well Qualified.  The following are the City Bar’s ratings of the seven candidates:


  • Hon. Janet DiFiore – Well Qualified
  • Carey R. Dunne – Well Qualified
  • Michael J. Garcia – Well Qualified
  • Caitlin J. Halligan – Well Qualified
  • Hon. A. Gail Prudenti – Well Qualified
  • Rowan D. Wilson – Well Qualified
  • Stephen P. Younger – Well Qualified


The Association’s Executive Committee extensively reviewed the background and qualifications of the candidates. Representatives of the Association’s Executive, Judiciary and State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction Committees interviewed each candidate and, for all candidates, reviewed their writings, investigated their background, and interviewed judges and lawyers familiar with the candidates. The full Executive Committee then considered whether to rate each candidate “Well Qualified” or “Not Well Qualified” for the position of Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals after considering the candidate’s intellectual ability, knowledge of the law, integrity, impartiality, judicial demeanor and temperament. In addition, in evaluating a candidate for Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the Executive Committee considers that the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals is also Chief Judge of the State of New York, with the oversight and administrative powers and responsibilities that accompany this position.

This two-tiered rating was adopted by the Executive Committee in May 2014.  The criteria for each rating are as follows:

“Well Qualified”:  Consistent with the term “Well Qualified” as it is set forth in describing the Commission’s mandate in Judiciary Law Section 63(1) and in Article 6, Section 2 of the Constitution: candidates “who by their character, temperament, professional aptitude and experience are well qualified to hold such judicial office.”

“Not Well Qualified”:  Candidates who may be competent lawyers or judges but, in the judgment of the Executive Committee, do not meet the requisite standard for “Well Qualified” in one or more of the constitutional and statutory criteria of “character, temperament, professional aptitude and experience.”

The Governor must appoint one of the candidates by no sooner than November 15th and no later than December 1st, and the State Senate must confirm or reject the Governor’s appointee no later than 30 days after receipt of that appointment. We urge the Governor and the Senate to act expeditiously and to meet these deadlines so that a new Chief Judge is sitting by January 1, 2016.  

Note: To ensure the integrity of the ratings process, the City Bar cannot comment beyond what is provided in this release. 

About the Association
The New York City Bar Association, since its founding in 1870, has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the legal profession, promoting reform of the law and access to justice, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association, through its 24,000 members, continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.