NY Top Court, Missing Two Judges, Has to Rehear Cases

ALBANY (AP) -

New York’s highest court, working short-handed without two judges, has been unable to reach a decision in two major cases argued this month, deciding Monday to hear them again once the seats are filled.

The seven-member Court of Appeals currently has five judges, a bare quorum. The court needs four judges in agreement to rule.

The two cases still undecided involve bank liability for terrorism and the return of autopsied body parts to families.

The court again will hear the New York City Medical Examiner’s appeal of a midlevel court ruling that the office has a legal obligation to return body parts to next of kin for burial.

It will also rehear the appeal by the Bank of China that New York or China’s laws, not Israel’s stricter laws, should apply to claims by 50 Israeli citizens that the bank knowingly facilitated the transfer of money by terrorist groups to operatives in Israel, enabling bombings and rocket attacks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has nominated two replacement judges who are awaiting Senate confirmation.