The New York Times reported last week that New York Governor George Pataki will have the chance to replace Judge George Bundy Smith, a Court of Appeals judge who many regard to be the most liberal in the state, when Judge Smith’s 14-year term ends this September. However, Judge Smith has filed papers seeking a second term. If re-appointed, he would serve until the end of next year when he turns 70, the mandatory retirement age, and when a new governor will be in office. Although Governor Pataki, a Republican, would like to shift New York’s court to the right and he has publicly opposed Judge Smith’s decision striking down the state’s death penalty law, some legal figures are already lobbying for his reappointment. Judge Smith, who is the only black judge on the state’s highest court, is very well respected within the legal community.

Categories: General, Judicial Selection