NEW YORK, Dec 3 (Reuters) - New York Gov. David Paterson said on Wednesday he was “outraged” that no women were nominated to lead the state’s Court of Appeals, its highest court, forcing him to choose from seven men recommended by a panel.
Paterson said he believes the state constitution obliges him to pick one of the men nominated by a 12-member panel. But he directed state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to explore options for picking a new chief judge for the appeals court that is considered one of the most influential state courts in the country.
“Because we’re citizens of a state in addition to being public servants, we’re outraged,” Paterson said, adding that the panel’s rejection of more than half the population could discourage women.
“What we really wanted to do is just publicly acknowledge ... the disappointing fact that they spanned the globe and couldn’t find a woman in New York state that was qualified to serve as the chief judge,” he said. Still, he called the seven male nominees highly qualified.
Four women served on the nominating panel, which was created in the late 1970s to reform the highly politicized way judges were chosen.
The current chief judge of Court of Appeals, Judith Kaye, resigns at the end of the year. Three other women serve on the seven-member court, and Paterson, joined by the Democratic attorney general, questioned why none of them was nominated.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Flood Morrow in Albany; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Vicki Allen