In January, the state’s highest court will have two fewer judges. Only five of the seven slots will be filled, due to a mandatory retirement and delays by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Senate over confirmation hearings.
Judge Robert Smith, a well-respected jurist appointed by former Gov. George Pataki, will leave the Court of Appeals at the end of 2014 because he’s reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Gov. Cuomo has until mid-January to announce his choice for a replacement. Smith’s departure means that in the first month of 2015, the seven-member court will have just five judges on the panel. The state Senate has not yet confirmed a replacement for the previous vacancy, which occurred earlier this fall.