NEW YORK — New York Governor Kathy Hochul has nominated Rowan D. Wilson for Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, her second nominee for the post. If approved, Wilson would become the first black person to hold the position.

Wilson is a graduate of Harvard Law School and is currently an associate justice of the Court of Appeals, a post he has held since 2017. He said in a statement on Monday that serving as chief justice would be the “honor” of his career. .

Hochul said in his announcement that “Wilson’s stellar record of upholding justice and fairness makes him well-positioned to lead the court at this critical time.”

Wilson’s nomination by Hochul comes after Democrats in his own party rejected Hector LaSalle, their original choice for chief justice, in favor of a judge with a more politically progressive record. LaSalle’s supporters said he was unfairly targeted by the left and his legal opinions were misinterpreted.

Brian Ginsberg, a frequent litigant at the state Court of Appeals who has appeared before Wilson, said the veteran judge is a “thorough questioner” and would be a “thought leadership force” in the role.

Hochul also named former state attorney general Caitlin J. Halligan, who is currently a partner at a New York-based law firm, to take Wilson’s place as associate judge. Halligan was a highly recommended candidate on a list of seven candidates reviewed by the Judicial Appointments Commission, Hochul said.

State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that the importance of the state’s Court of Appeals nominees “cannot be overstated.” given recent Federal Court rulings on issues such as abortion and gun safety.

He said he planned to hold hearings to review the candidates’ files.

Deputy State Senate Leader Michael Gianaris, a Democrat, voiced support for Wilson’s nomination, saying Wilson is “exactly the kind of person who can restore the integrity and reputation of the Court of Justice.” appeal after the damaging tenure of the previous administration”.

Hochul also announced “strong support” for Wilson to recommend Joseph Zayas as chief administrative judge, where he would oversee a budget of more than $3 billion.

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