New York

New York Court of Appeals
7 Judges
14 year terms
State High Court & Judicial Nominating Commission Composition & Terms of Judicial Nominating Commission Judicial Selection Process Legal Authority
      • 12 members:
    • 4 appointed by the Governor*
    • 4 appointed by the Chief Judge*
    • 1 appointed by each:
      • The Speaker of the Assembly
      • The Temporary President of the Senate
      • The Minority Leader of the Senate
      • The Minority Leader of the Assembly

*2 lawyers and 2 non-lawyers

Terms: 4 years (varied)


  • Commission submits a list of at least three but no more than seven persons well qualified from which the Governor must choose one.
  • The Governor’s appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.
  • At the end of a Judge’s term, to serve another term the Judge is subject again to the commission recommendation, gubernatorial appointment, and senatorial confirmation process.

Interim Vacancies

  • Vacancies in the office of justice of the supreme court, of judge of the county court, of judge of the surrogate’s court or judge of the family court outside the city of New York,  shall be filled for a full term at the next general election held not less than three months after such vacancy occurs.
  • Until the vacancy shall be so filled, the Governor by and with the advice and consent of the senate, if the senate shall be in session, or, if the senate not be in session, the Governor may fill such vacancy by an appointment which shall continue until and including the last day of December next after the election at which the vacancy shall be filled.

Percentage of Lawyers on the Nominating Commission

Who Selects the Nominating Commissioners?

    Docket Watch

  • New York State’s Highest Court Reverses Major Tort Award in World Trade Center Bombing Litigation

    On September 22, 2011, the New York State Court of Appeals issued a decision reversing a major tort award. In In re World Trade Center Bombing Litigation Steering Committee v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,1 the basic underlying facts were not in dispute. The Port Authority was a public entity created in a 1921 compact between New York and New Jersey to oversee critical centers of commerce, trade, and transportation hubs (e.g., airports, bridges, tunnels, etc). It is a financially self-reliant public entity.2 One of the properties it developed, constructed, and operated was the World Trade Center. The Port Authority operated a security force of forty police officers within the confines of the World Trade Center.

  • New York’s Highest Court Narrows the Assumption of Risk Defense to Tort Liability

    On April 6, 2010, the New York State Court of Appeals rejected use of the assumption of the risk doctrine to nullify a school district’s duty to supervise the children within its care.1 The ruling would likely have been uncontroversial if the majority had limited its pronouncements to those necessary to resolve the present dispute: a child cannot assume the risk of injuries from “horseplay” enabled by his teachers’ failure to supervise him. This proposition provided the basis for the unanimous judgment in Trupia v. Lake George Central School District disallowing the defense in that case. However, the court split 4-3 in its reasoning, with the minority concurrence decrying the “extended dictum” in which the majority reconceived and narrowed the defense of assumption of the risk in New York State.

  • New York’s Highest Court Backtracks on Property Owners’ Rights in Eminent Domain Case

    In In re Goldstein v. New York State Urban Development Corp., New York State used its power of eminent domain to seize property that would be included in a private developer’s twenty-two-acre mixed-use development project.1 The project was to include a sports arena for a professional basketball team and numerous high rise buildings, the latter of which would serve both commercial and residential purposes.

  • Judicial Election

    Judges are elected by popular vote.
  • Democratic Appointment

    Judges are appointed directly by a democratic body, or appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of some democratic body.