Albany, NY - May 6, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Senate confirmed Sheila Abdus-Salaam, an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, to serve on the New York State Court of Appeals. Justice Abdus-Salaam is the first African-American woman to serve on the Court of Appeals. She was nominated by the Governor on April 5.
“Today, Justice Abdus-Salaam is confirmed by the state Senate to join a truly remarkable group of judges on the New York State Court of Appeals,” Governor Cuomo said. “Justice Abdus-Salaam will bring decades of experience and dedication serving in the courts of New York to this prestigious and well-earned position. I have no doubt that she will serve with integrity in defending our constitution and laws and protecting the rights of New Yorkers. She has my sincerest congratulations.”
Justice Abdus-Salaam said, “It is a true privilege to be confirmed by the New York Senate today to serve on the highest court in the Empire State. I thank the Governor for his nomination and for placing his trust and confidence in me. Governor Cuomo has made it a priority to attract the best talent to public service and to make anew the great public institutions of this state, and I am honored and humbled to serve the people of New York on the Court of Appeals. I look forward to joining my colleagues on the bench, and to continuing to make the fair application of the law the hallmark of my judicial career.”
Justice Abdus-Salaam has served as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, since April 2009. She was elected Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York in November 1993 and re-elected in November 2007. From January 1992 to December 1993, she served as Judge on the Civil Court of the City of New York.
Justice Abdus-Salaam’s legal experience extends beyond the bench. She served as General Counsel in the New York City Office of Labor Services from June 1988 to December 1991, and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights and Real Estate Financing Bureaus from August 1980 to May 1988. She began her legal career as a lawyer at East Brooklyn Legal Services. Justice Abdus-Salaam is a graduate of Barnard College and received her J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law.
Earlier this year, the State Bar Association gave Justice Abdus-Salaam its highest rating of “well qualified” to serve on the Court of Appeals. The Association has evaluated candidates for the Court of Appeals since 1967.
Seymour W. James, Jr., President of the New York State Bar Association, said, “The New York State Bar Association congratulates Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam on her Senate confirmation as an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals. We applaud Governor Cuomo for nominating someone so eminently qualified to serve. Whether representing indigent clients as a young lawyer, protecting civil rights as an assistant attorney general, or adjudicating matters from the bench, Justice Abdus-Salaam has demonstrated wisdom, intellect and a commitment to justice.”
Maureen E. Maney, President of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY), said, “The confirmation of Justice Abdus-Salaam, a WBASNY member, is a tremendous source of pride to our Association. The addition of Justice Abdus-Salaam to the Court of Appeals serves not only as inspiration to all professional women, but, renders the composition of the Court more reflective of the legal profession and our society. Governor Cuomo’s nomination recognizes the outstanding qualifications Justice Abdus-Salaam possesses while also promoting diversity.”
R. Nadine Fontaine, President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, said, “Today, we see history in the making. I congratulate the Honorable Sheila Abdus-Salaam on her well-deserved confirmation to the New York State Court of Appeals. Judge Abdus-Salaam has repeatedly proven herself to be an exceptional and highly respected jurist and will undoubtedly continue in that vein. I commend Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the members of the Senate for their unwavering commitment to having a highly qualified bench and to diversity that truly reflects the members of our State.”
Margo Ferrandino, President of the Association of Black Women Attorneys (ABWA), said, “Judge Abdus-Salaam is an exceptional jurist and ABWA is proud that its members continue to excel in the legal profession and represent our community at the highest levels of the judiciary in New York State.”
William Little, President of the Capitol District Black and Hispanic Bar Association, said, “We are happy and proud of the confirmation of Judge Abdus-Salaam to the Court of Appeals and commend the Governor on this appointment which highlights his commitment to a diverse judiciary reflective of the state.”
David M. Schizer, Columbia Law School Dean, the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law and Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics, said, “I am delighted the Senate has confirmed Justice Abdus-Salaam. The New York State Court of Appeals—and all New Yorkers—will benefit enormously from her wisdom, fair-mindedness, integrity, and compassion.”
Michael Jaffe, President of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, said, “The New York State Trial Lawyers Association congratulates Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam on her confirmation to the New York State Court of Appeals. Governor Cuomo should be commended for putting forward a nominee whose wisdom and experience will be a tremendous addition to the state's highest court, and we were proud to strongly support Justice Abdus-Salaam's appointment.”
Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference, said, "I congratulate Justice Abdus-Salaam on today’s confirmation by the state Senate. Governor Cuomo has appointed a truly experienced and knowledgeable professional to the Court of Appeals who also represents the diversity of the Empire State, and I congratulate him on this successful nomination. Justice Abdus-Salaam has decades of experiences serving on the bench and she will bring a valuable and well-respected voice to the highest court in the state. Today history has been made in our justice system.”