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Candidates Announced for N.Y. Judicial Post

ALBANY, N.Y. (CN) - A state judicial panel on Tuesday released its list of seven nominees to replace retiring Judge Susan Read on New York's highest court.

The list includes associate justices in the state's appellate division and the general counsel for Manhattan's district attorney, as well as several others who were nominated earlier this year to replace Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who also announced his retirement.

Read retired from the state Court of Appeals on August 24.

A judicial commission in charge of judge nomination, which had considered a total of 52 candidates for Read's post, conducted in-person interviews with all seven of the final candidates.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo now has 30 days to make his appointment from that list, then the state Senate has an additional 30 days to confirm or reject the appointment.

Earlier this month the governor nominated Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore to succeed Lippman.

Of those nominated to fill the vacancy created by Read's retirement, two of the candidates are current appellate division associate judges. The first is Judith Gische, who joined the appellate division in 2012.

Gische was appointed acting justice on the state Supreme Court in 1997, before being elected to the state Supreme Court in 2008. She has also worked with law firm Richenthal, Abrams and Moss. She is an adjunct professor at New York Law School.

The other associate justice nominated to fill Read's post is Erin Peradotto, who was appointed to the appellate division in 2006.

She previously served on the New York Supreme Court, having been elected to the position in 2003, and prior to that, worked for the state's Attorney Grievance Committee from 2001 to 2003.

Perdatto has also worked in private practice as a trial attorney.

Four of the seven candidates were three previously considered for Lippman's slot, including Michael Garcia, a partner at New York City law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Garcia served from 2003 to 2005 as an assistant secretary for immigration and customs enforcement at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York until 2008.

Fellow candidate Caitlin Halligan was also considered for Lippman's spot. Halligan, a partner at New York City law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, spent a decade in the state attorney general's Office, then served as solicitor general from 2001 to 2009.

She then worked as general counsel to the New York City District Attorney's office from 2009 and 2013.

Rowan Wilson, a partner in the New York City law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, is the only black nominee. He has been nominated three times by the commission to become an associate judge on the Court of Appeals, and was among those considered to take over as chief judge.

Stephen Younger, a partner at New York City law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, was also considered to replace Lippman. He was previously nominated for associate judge on the Court of Appeals.

The final of the seven candidates for Read's post is Benjamin Rosenberg, who is general counsel for the New York County District Attorney Office.

He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York's criminal division from 1990 to 1994.

He also served for a year as chief trial counsel for N.Y. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Rosenberg, who previously worked at private law firms Wacthtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz and Dechert LLP, is a lecturer at Columbia Law School.

Until both vacancies are filled, the Court of Appeals is likely to begin its January 2016 session with only five judges. The court spent several months earlier this year with a five-judge panel, which resulted in at least two cases being sent back for reargument when required four judges could not be mustered for a decision.

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