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Hochul nominates Rowan Wilson to serve as chief judge in New York

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul has nominated the Honorable Rowan D. Wilson to serve as Chief Judge, filling the vacancy created last summer. Wilson has served as an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals for the past six years. Additionally, Hochul plans to nominate Caitlin J. Halligan, partner at Selendy Gay Elsberg PLLC, to fill Wilson’s vacancy as Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals. The Governor also expressed support for Judge Wilson’s intention to recommend the Honorable Joseph Zayas for appointment as Chief Administrative Judge.


Hochul praised Wilson, stating that his “sterling record of upholding justice and fairness makes him well-suited to lead the court at this critical time.” Wilson’s confirmation would mark a historic moment, as he would become the first Black Chief Judge. With a distinguished career in law, Wilson has also served as Trustee for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, as well as Chairman of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem for twenty-one years.

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Regarding Halligan, Hochul said that she “will bring a critical perspective to our justice system.” Halligan, who has an extensive background in law, has held positions such as New York State Solicitor General and General Counsel to the New York County District Attorney. She currently teaches at Harvard Law School and has previously taught at Columbia Law School and Georgetown Law Center.

The Governor emphasized the importance of working with these nominees to ensure the Court of Appeals functions effectively and that justice is administered, especially considering the court backlog caused by the pandemic.