New York Governor David Paterson has refused to accept a state commission’s list of recommended candidates for chief judge of the state Court of Appeals because the list does not include a single woman. In a press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Paterson strongly criticized the bipartisan Commission on Judicial Nomination, saying, “I don’t accept that there wasn’t a woman in this state that wasn’t qualified to serve on the Court of Appeals.”
According to the New York Times, Gov. Paterson is bound by state law to nominate one of the commission’s choices. He said Wednesday that he will not ignore the commission’s suggestions, but that he asked New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to look into the possibility of expanding the list of candidates or changing the selection process.
Standing beside the governor on Wednesday, Attorney General Cuomo also had harsh words for the commission. “To circumscribe, limit the governor to only men, and for the commission to say, ‘We searched the state, we couldn’t find a single, solitary qualified woman to serve on the bench’–something is wrong,” he said. “We will be exploring the available legal options, discussing it with the governor and his team and deciding where to go from here.” Gov. Paterson’s chief counsel, Peter Kiernan, told the Albany Times-Union that his office will also do a “legal analysis” of the situation.