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After Contentious Debate, Senate Approves Cuomo's Court Choice

Monday, February 11, 2013

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

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 Hispanic 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 Adriano 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.

Governor Cuomo says Rivera is “supremely qualified” and her experience as a public interest lawyer will broaden the court.

Judge Rivera, appearing with Cuomo after the vote, said she’s “grateful” to the governor, whom she says “values public service”.

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