After contentious debate, state Senate approves Cuomo's court choice

Feb 12, 2013

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Court of Appeals nominee was approved in the New York State Senate on a voice vote, after an unusually contentious process.

Cuomo’s nominee, Jenny Rivera, had already faced extensive grilling from Senate Republicans, who are in a coalition government with several break-away Democrats. Then, during the vote on the Senate floor, some GOP Senators rose to say that she was not the best candidate.

Senator John Bonacic, of the Hudson Valley, had previously accused Cuomo, who wanted to replace a retiring Latina judge with the Latina, Rivera, of social engineering.

“I find her writings to be confusing, and unclear,” Bonacic said on the Senate floor.

Numerous Democrats defended Rivera, including Senator Adrian Espaillat, of Manhattan. “She may not be a litigator in a white-shoe law firm on Wall Street,” Espaillat said. “But she is highly qualified.”

Rivera was approved by a voice vote, so no Senators were officially recorded as voting no.

Cuomo says Rivera is “supremely qualified” and her experience as a public interest lawyer will broaden the court. Rivera, appearing with Cuomo after the vote, said she’s grateful to the governor, whom she says “values public service.”