Cuomo Picks Judge From Albany for Top Court

ALBANY (AP) -

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday selected a midlevel appellate judge from Albany for the state’s highest court.

Justice Leslie Stein, a jurist for the past 17 years, will replace Judge Victoria Graffeo on the seven-member Court of Appeals. Her nomination is subject to a Senate hearing and confirmation.

Graffeo’s 14-year term expires next month. Her name was on the short list of seven potential nominees and the only Republican.

Cuomo cited Stein’s extensive judicial experience, noting that she “has worked throughout her career to help ensure that women, families, victims of domestic violence, and vulnerable New Yorkers have a voice in our legal system.”

Cuomo’s first two nominees who joined the court last year, Judges Jenny Rivera and Sheila Abdus-Salaam, are women. If he wins re-election in two weeks, he is expected to nominate another jurist to replace Judge Robert Smith, who must retire at the end of this year.

The Court of Appeals reviews lower court decisions, interprets statutes and the state’s constitution, and often makes case law.