December 4, 2008

STATEMENT BY BERNICE K. LEBER, PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION

Judicial Nomination Process

The New York State Bar Association believes that the process by which New Yorkchooses its Court of Appeals judges, including the work of the Commission on Judicial Nomination, has worked well for many years, resulting in the selection of outstanding women jurists such as Chief Judge Kaye, Judge Ciparick, Judge Graffeo, and Judge Read.

Although there are no current women nominees, the commission has made many recommendations of women and minorities over the years. The fact that the present court has a majority of women is a testament to those efforts.

The commission is by New York's Constitution and Judiciary law an independent body and must maintain confidentiality in its deliberations. The Commission was created to ensure that a Governor selects nominees based only on the nominee's qualifications.

At the same time, we encourage all parties to look for ways to increase the number of qualified applicants who seek appointment, including those who are not judges. We encourage all those involved in the selection process including the Governor, the Commission, those who select the members of the Commission and bar associations across New Yorkto make every effort to increase diversity by increasing the pool of applicants, a goal we all share.

####

The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, the Association's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.