Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Feb. 6 swore in 38 judges to serve in New York City’s Family, Criminal and Civil courts. The ceremony included the appointment of six new Family Court judges, nine new Criminal Court judges and six new interim Civil Court judges.
Bloomberg also reappointed four Family Court judges, 12 Criminal Court judges, and one civil court judge.
The group of judges was the largest the mayor has sworn in at one time during his tenure.
Bloomberg made the new appointments from three candidates nominated for each position by his Advisory Committee on the Judiciary. The committee recommends whether sitting judges should be appointed and the mayor makes the decision.
All of the judges also have been found qualified by the Judiciary Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Civil Court judges are elected in New York City but the mayor has the power to appoint interim Civil Court judges to fill vacancies arising on the bench after the November elections.
The procedure for the merit selection of judges was instituted by Mayor Edward Koch, who died last week (NYLJ, Feb. 4). Bloomberg paid tribute to his predecessor’s "legacy of getting political patronage out of the appoinment process."
"[Koch] called the judicial merit selection process one of the proudest achievements of his three terms as mayor and with the appointment of today’s judges we carry on his legacy of ensuring integrity on the bench," Bloomberg said.
The batch of judges represented the largest class sworn in by Bloomberg and the last before he leaves office at the end of this year.
"The judges we are appointing today not only have outstanding legal and professional credentials they also have a thorough understanding of our city, our people, and the realities of the lives they lead," said Bloomberg. "Our administration takes pride in all we have done to preserve and enhance a process of appointing judges based on integrity, independence, and merit."
Before the official swearing in, the mayor joked, "As I like to say when I appoint new people to my administration, ‘Don’t screw it up."
When Family Court Judge Peter Passidomo, who accidentally raised his left hand, Bloomberg said, "You’ve got to raise your right hand. Now I’m left-handed. Why do we always have to raise our right hand?"
Mayor Michael Bloomberg swears in newly appointed Family Court Judge Dean Kusakabe, while his wife Kaori holds the Bible and his family looks on. He was one of 38 appointed and reappointed judges sworn in on Feb. 6. NYLJ/Rick Kopstein