NY Gov. Cuomo nominates openly gay judge to state's highest court

Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated New York State Supreme Court Associate Justice Paul Feinman to the state's highest court on Thursday. Photo by Rick Kopstein, NY Law Journal.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday he will nominate Justice Paul G. Feinman to serve as an Associate Judge on the New York State Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals is the highest court in New York.

Justice Feinman is currently an Associate Justice on the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court and has served as a judge in New York for more than 20 years.

"Justice Feinman will be an exceptional addition to New York’s highest court," Governor Cuomo said. "He is a talented jurist who has dedicated his career to public service and standing up for a fairer and more just New York. While we continue to mourn the untimely passing of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, Justice Feinman will help ensure that the Court of Appeals upholds the highest principles of law and fairness that embody the very best of New York."

"It is a tremendous honor to be nominated to the Court of Appeals," Justice Paul G. Feinman said. "I thank Governor Cuomo for this opportunity to serve on the Court of Appeals and, if confirmed, look forward to working with my distinguished colleagues on the Court to continue to serve New York."

If confirmed, Justice Feinman would be the first openly gay person to serve on the Court of Appeals. He is a member of the Richard C. Failla LGBT Commission, which promotes fair treatment of LGBT issues and LGBT members of the court community. He was the President of the International Association of LGBT Judges between 2008 and 2011, and was President of the Association of Supreme Court Justices of the State of New York in 2015.

Susan Sommer, Associate Legal Director and Director of Constitutional Litigation in New York, wrote on Lambda Legal’s website, “I am proud to serve with Justice Feinman on the Richard C. Failla LGBTQ Commission of the New York State Courts, where he has demonstrated his commitment to equality and justice for all New Yorkers.

“It is more important than ever that our courts reflect the rich diversity of our country. Justice Feinman brings not only integrity and experience to the New York Court of Appeals, but also groundbreaking diversity.

“Our courts are charged with providing every person with equal access to justice, and yet for some, justice has not always been a reality. A diverse judicial system improves the quality of justice and boosts public confidence in our courts.”

The Gayly – June 16, 2017 @ 5 p.m.