Senate Panel Backs Nominee to Top N.Y. Court

ALBANY (AP) -

The state Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced the nomination of a longtime jurist to fill a vacancy on New York’s top court, with all the senators giving her a standing ovation afterward.

The committee has voted unanimously after some senators said Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was the best qualified nominee they had ever seen. If confirmed by the full Senate, she will be the first African-American woman on the seven-member Court of Appeals.

She was elected to trial-level state Supreme Court in 1993, re-elected in 2007 and joined the midlevel court in Manhattan in 2009. She would replace Judge Theodore Jones Jr., who died in November.

The 60-year-old Abdus-Salaam was among seven candidates recommended by a state commission that found her well qualified.