The New York City Bar Association just released its evaluations for candidates to succeed New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, who is retiring on Dec. 31 as head judge for the state’s highest court, Court of Appeals.
Here is the news release:
The New York City Bar announced today its ratings of candidates recommended by the New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination for appointment as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. The term of current Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye will expire on December 31, 2008.
The evaluations of the seven candidates nominated by the Commission are:
• George Carpinello: Not Well Qualified
• Evan Davis: Exceptionally Well Qualified
• Steven Fisher: Well Qualified
• Theodore Jones, Jr. (from Rockland County): Well Qualified
• Jonathan Lippman: Exceptionally Well Qualified
• Eugene Pigott, Jr.: Well Qualified
• Peter Zimroth: 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” or “exceptionally 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, and the oversight and administrative powers and responsibilities that accompany this position.
This three-tiered rating was adopted by the Executive Committee in May, 2007, and is being utilized for the first time for the chief judge position.
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
• “Not Well Qualified”: Candidates who may be a competent lawyer or judge but, in the judgment of the Executive Committee, does 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.”
• “Exceptionally Well Qualified”: A candidate who is exceptional to the degree that he or she is superior to
others who are “well qualified.” This rating should be given as an exception and not the norm.