New York Chief Justice Janet DiFiore is stepping down at the end of the summer
ALBANY – New York Chief Justice Janet DiFiore hangs up her robe.
DiFiore announced Monday that she will be retiring from the bank at the end of August after serving as the state’s chief attorney for the past six years.
In a letter to colleagues, the 66-year-old highlighted the structural changes within the judiciary during her tenure and the reduction in case backlogs, saying she was “ready to move into the next chapter of her life and to be deeply proud of what what we were able to achieve together.”
“Excellence is a mindset that is now fully integrated into the fabric of the New York courts, leaving us well prepared to meet the future judicial needs of all attorneys, litigants and court users who come to our courthouses for fair, timely and justice.” to seek services,” she added.
The New York Times first reported on DiFiore’s plan to resign.
DiFiore, a former Westchester County district attorney, was appointed chief justice of the Court of Appeals by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in late 2015. She assumed the position in early 2016.
DiFiore, who previously served for a time as chair of the now-defunct New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics, has no prospect of a new position but told the Times there would be “another chapter in my professional career.”
Gov. Hochul, who now has the option to appoint DiFiore’s successor at a time when progressives have criticized the seven-member appeals court for being too conservative, praised the outgoing lawyer.
“From the Westchester District Attorney’s Office to the Court of Appeals, Chief Justice Janet DiFiore has dedicated her career to the people of New York,” she said in a statement. “Chief Judge DiFiore’s leadership in our state court system – especially during the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic – has been a key asset.”
Hochul said she looks forward to considering the commission’s recommendations on appointing judges “while we work to appoint new leadership to the court.”
Criticism has dogged the state’s top court in recent years, as Cuomo appointed several conservative-leaning justices, forming a four-member majority led by DiFiore.
Most recently, the Court of Appeals has taken the heat away from some for overturning lines of Congress and the State Senate drawn up by the Democratic-led Legislature in a decision that has split the state’s primary and turned the election calendar on its head.
The composition of the court has also come under scrutiny in the wake of the conservative majority on the US Supreme Court and recent rulings to abolish state abortion laws and to change New York’s gun laws.
“In light of the recent decisions of the US Supreme Court and now the news of the resignation of the New York Chief Justice, it is more important than ever that Gov. Hochul nominate a Progressive Chief Justice and that the Senate confirm a Progressive Chief Justice,” the spokesman said Assembly, Carl Heastie (D-Bronx). tweeted shortly after DiFiore’s plans became public.
Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said while DiFiore is responsible for “administrative reforms” within the court system, it’s time for a change.
“It’s time for a new direction in our justice industry,” he said. “As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am determined that the Chief Justice’s successor must be a lawyer who will lead our Court of Appeals in a much-needed course correction that will empower the vulnerable and ensure equality and justice for all.”
The youngest judge to join the Court of Appeal was Shirley Troutman, who was nominated by Hochul last year. Judges, who must be approved by the state Senate, serve terms of 14 years or until mandatory retirement is reached at age 70.
DiFiore would have been eligible until 2025.