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Originally Published: December 17, 2013

Three Civic Groups urge Mayor-Elect de Blasio to continue merit selection process for city judges begun by Mayor Koch

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg today swears in his last group of judges for New York City’s courts, we applaud him for following the practice, originally adopted as an Executive Order by Mayor Ed Koch, of having an independent committee on the judiciary select a limited number of highly qualified candidates from which the Mayor must choose in making his appointments.

Mayor Bloomberg further subscribed to a practice first adopted by Mayor Koch: that the New York City Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee would review every potential appointee and that he would not appoint anyone who was not approved by the Committee. The City Bar Judiciary Committee, which has been in existence for more than 140 years, seeks to ensure that judicial candidates have the necessary integrity, impartiality, intellect, legal knowledge, industriousness and temperament for service on the bench.

Our groups urge that Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio continue the nonpartisan merit-based approach of his predecessors. Each independent committee brings a different perspective and has access to different sources of information, and the partnership between the Mayor’s office and these committees helps ensure that the city’s judicial appointments are of the highest possible quality and reflect the full diversity of New York, and that the judiciary remains strong and independent.

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