Press Releases

On the Future of the State Constitution’s Commission on Judicial Nomination

Susan J. KohlmannStatement by New York City Bar Association President Susan J. Kohlmann 

A recent legislative statement concerning the possible elimination of the State Constitution’s Commission on Judicial Nomination is raising alarm bells, and for good reason. Reasonable minds can differ as to whether the current Commission process can be improved; in fact, this is a topic the New York City Bar Association is examining through a newly forming working group – notwithstanding our longstanding support for commission-based judicial appointments in New York. Since it was put in place by the voters in 1977 to create an independent and depoliticized selection and appointment process for Court of Appeals judges, the Commission has played an important role in how the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, fills vacancies on that court. Rushed consideration of a sweeping proposal that would undo a constitutional amendment and that implicates the independence of our State’s highest court is extremely ill-advised. As a matter of good governance, transparency and democracy, any such proposal should allow for robust public input and debate.