Judicial selection in New York

From Judgepedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Judicial selection in the states
Judicial selection in New York
Seal of New York.png
New York Court of Appeals
Method:   Comm. select., Gov. appt. with Senate confirmation
Term:   14 years
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
Method:   Comm. select., Gov. appt.
Term:   5 years or end of supreme court term
New York Supreme Court
Method:   Partisan elections
Term:   14 years
New York County Courts
Method:   Partisan elections
Term:   10 years
New York Town and Village Courts
Method:   Partisan elections
Term:   4 years

Selection of state court judges in New York occurs primarily through partisan elections, but the appellate courts and certain limited jurisdiction courts use the commission-selection, political appointment method.[1]

When examining New York's unusually complex judicial system, it is important to note that the supreme court is not the court of last resort. Though most other states reserve that title for the highest court, New York's court of appeals assumes that role while the supreme court serves as the principal trial court.[2]

Under the New York Constitution, elected judges' terms begin on January 1 following their election.

Court of Appeals

See also: Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection

The 7 justices of the New York Court of Appeals serve 14-year terms. They are appointed by the governor from a list of candidates provided by a judicial nominating commission, pending confirmation from the state senate.[1]

Upon the expiration of their terms, judges must reapply for appointment and are considered alongside other applicants.[1]

Selection of the chief justice

Like the other justices, the court's chief justice is selected by gubernatorial appointment. He or she serves in that capacity for a full term.[1]

Qualifications

To serve on this court, a judge must:

  • be a state resident;
  • have had at least 10 years of in-state law practice; and
  • be under the age of 70 (retirement at 70 is mandatory).[1]

Vacancies

Midterm vacancies are filled just as they would be at the expiration of a judge's term; the governor appoints a successor with help from a nominating commission and the senate. The newly appointed judge serves a full 14-year term.[1]

Supreme Court, Appellate Division

See also: Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection

The 60 justices of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division serve for 5 years or until the end of a supreme court term, whichever is shorter. They are nominated by a commission and appointed by the governor from among sitting supreme court judges.[1]

Upon the expiration of their terms, judges must reapply for appointment and are considered alongside other applicants.[1]

Selection of the chief justice

The chief justice is chosen by gubernatorial appointment just as the other judges are, serving in that capacity for the duration of his or her term.[1]

Qualifications

To serve on this court, a judge must:

  • be a state resident;
  • have had at least 10 years of in-state law practice
  • be at least 18 years old;
  • be no older than 70 (retirement at 70 is mandatory).[1]

Vacancies

Should a midterm vacancy occur, a replacement is found just as one would be at the expiration of a justice's term.[1]

Supreme Court

See also: Partisan election of judges

The 324 justices of the New York Supreme Court are elected to 14-year terms in partisan elections. To appear on the ballot, candidates must be chosen at partisan nominating conventions.[1]

Sitting judges wishing to serve an additional term must run for re-election.[1]

Selection of the chief justice

The chief judge of the court of appeals appoints two chief administrative judges of the supreme court, one to supervise trial courts within New York City and one to supervise trial courts outside of the city.[1]

Qualifications

To serve on this court, a judge must:

  • be a state resident;
  • have had at least 10 years of in-state law practice;
  • be at least 18 years old; and
  • be under the age of 70 (retirement at 70 is mandatory).[1]

Vacancies

In the event of a midterm vacancy, the governor appoints a successor from a list of names provided by a nominating commission. The newly appointed judge serves until the next general election occurring at least 3 months after the appointment, at which point he or she must run for election to continue serving.[1]

County Courts

See also: Partisan election of judges

The 125 judges of the New York County Courts are selected in an identical manner as those of the New York Supreme Court. However, judges are elected to 10-year terms and must meet a different set of qualifications.[1]

Qualifications

To join this court, a judge must:

  • be a state resident;
  • be a county resident;
  • have had at least 5 years of in-state law practice;
  • be at least 18 years old; and
  • be under the age of 70 (retirement at 70 is mandatory).[1]

Limited jurisdiction courts

New York's limited jurisdiction courts vary in their selection processes:[3]

Court of Claims Family Court Surrogate's Court Civil Court Criminal Court District Court City Court Town Court
Selection: Comm. select., Gov. appt. with senate consent Partisan election Partisan election Partisan election Mayoral appointment Partisan election Varies Partisan election
Re-election method: Comm. select., Gov. appt. with senate consent Re-election Re-election Re-election Reappointment Re-election Varies Re-election
Qualifications: state resident; at least 10 years of state practice; minimum age of 18; mandatory retirement age of 70 state resident; county resident; at least 10 years of state practice; minimum age of 18; mandatory retirement age of 70 state resident; county resident; at least 10 years of state practice; minimum age of 18; mandatory retirement age of 70 state resident; city resident; at least 10 years of state practice; minimum age of 18; mandatory retirement age of 70 state resident; city resident; at least 10 years of state practice; minimum age of 18; mandatory retirement age of 70 state resident; county resident; at least 5 years of state practice; minimum age of 18; mandatory retirement age of 70 state resident; city resident; at least 5 years of state practice; minimum age of 18; mandatory retirement age of 70 state resident; local resident; minimum age of 18

History of judicial selection

Selection methods in New York have undergone various changes since the inception of the judiciary. Below is a timeline noting the various stages, from the most recent to the earliest:

  • 1977: The state constitution is amended to call for the merit selection of court of appeals judges. State voters favored the amendment by a two-to-one margin.
  • 1975: Governor Carey gives an executive order creating judicial screening committees, to be used in the appointment of court of claims and supreme court appellate division judges.
  • 1961: The constitution is amended to create a unified court system. County courts are continued outside of New York City, their judges being elected by popular vote to 10-year terms.
  • 1913: New York County Court judges are elected by popular vote to 6-year terms, except in New York County where terms are 14 years.
  • 1985: The appellate division of the supreme court is created, with justices appointed by the governor from among sitting supreme court judges. They are to serve five-year terms.
  • 1876: The term length of county court judges is increased from 4 to 6 years. All other judges' terms are increased from 8 to 14 years.
  • 1847: All judges are elected by popular vote to eight-year terms except county judges, who are elected to four-year terms.
  • 1822: All judges are appointed for life by the governor with senate consent, except county judges who are appointed to five-year terms.
  • 1777: All judges are appointed for life by the governor with council consent.[4]

Selection of federal judges

United States District Court judges, who are selected from each state, go through a different selection process than that of state judges.

The district courts are served by Article III federal judges who are appointed for life, during "good behavior." They are usually first recommended by senators (or members of the House, occasionally). The President of the United States of America nominates judges, who must then be confirmed by the U.S. Senate in accordance with Article III of the United States Constitution.[5]

Step ApprovedA Candidacy Proceeds DefeatedD Candidacy Halts
1. Recommendation made by Congress member to the President President nominates to Senate Judiciary Committee President declines nomination
2. Senate Judiciary Committee interviews candidate Sends candidate to Senate for confirmation Returns candidate to President, who may re-nominate to committee
3. Senate votes on candidate confirmation Candidate becomes federal judge Candidate does not receive judgeship

See also

External links

References

New YorkUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Western District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Northern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Southern District of New YorkUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of New YorkUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of New YorkUnited States bankruptcy court, Northern District of New YorkUnited States bankruptcy court, Southern District of New YorkUnited States Court of Appeals for the Second CircuitNew York Court of AppealsNew York Supreme Court, Appellate DivisionNew York Supreme CourtNew York County CourtsNew York City CourtsNew York Town and Village CourtsNew York Family CourtsNew York Surrogates' CourtsNew York City Civil CourtNew York City Criminal CourtsNew York Court of ClaimsNew York Problem Solving CourtsNew York countiesNew York judicial newsNew York judicial electionsJudicial selection in New YorkNewYorkTemplate.jpg