According to Mid-Hudson News
ALBANY – New York’s top judge, Janet DiFiore, a Republican turned Democrat, announced on Monday that she will be stepping down as the leader of the state’s court system on August 31. The former Westchester DA was appointed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2016 and has two years left on her term.
As chief judge, DiFiore was the head of the seven-judge New York State Court of Appeals and was the administrator for the entire New York State Unified Court System.
Judge DiFiore would have been forced to retire in 2025 when she turns 70 years old. With the early departure, Governor Hochul has the opportunity to name a successor, pending approval of the state senate.
DiFiore is considered a moderate when compared to the Democratic leadership in the state legislature. One of her most notable decisions came just months ago when she invalidated the map for the new Congressional districts drawn by the legislature. The chief judge said the Democratic majority had gerrymandered the proposed districts to give the Democrats an advantage.
DiFiore had campaigned to become an NYS Supreme Court Justice in the Ninth Judicial District in 2002. Retired Supreme Court Judge James Brands of Dutchess County also ran and won that year. “We crossed paths several times during the campaign,” the Republican Brands said. “We were both seeking to get elected across five counties and I enjoyed her company.
With statements being issued from state leaders, the now-retired Brands praised DiFiore. “This is truly a loss for our judiciary. Judge DiFiore has improved the state court system more than any of her predecessors.” Brands noted that he is proud to call her a “friend” and he has been “honored” to have served with her.
After hearing of DiFiore’s announcement that said in part “I’m moving on to the next chapter of my life,” Governor Hochul addressed the issue, saying “I thank Judge DiFiore for her years of service and look forward to reviewing the recommendations of the Commission on Judicial Nomination as we work to appoint new leadership to the Court.”
The state senate does not return to Albany until January, giving Hochul time to pick a successor that will need confirmation by the state senate.