Scoopy, Week of Feb. 14, 2013
JENNY FROM THE (BARUCH) BLOCK: The confirmation of CUNY School of Law professor Jenny Rivera, above, as the newest member of the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, garnered intense coverage, as she weathered stiff opposition by Republicans on the state Senate Judiciary Committee last week. A former law clerk to Sonia Sotomayor in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and a Legal Aid lawyer, Rivera was also commissioner of the city’s Commission on Human Rights from 2002 to 2007, and most recently an assistant attorney general in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration. Nevertheless, the G.O.P.’ers grilled Rivera for hours, questioning her lack of trial or judicial experience and dragging their feet on the confirmation. Some of them charged she would bring “judicial activism” to the bench. But Rivera was ultimately approved in a voice vote. A New York native of Puerto Rican background, Rivera replaces Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, who has retired and was the previous sole Hispanic on the state’s high court. Cuomo, who nominated Rivera last month, lauded her real-world experience helping the poor. He said appointing Rivera, with her background, would be a valuable addition to the court, instead of the same type of individuals always being selected. “Her extensive experience in civil rights law and her passion for making our state a fairer and more just place will greatly benefit New York,” Cuomo said. Congressmember Nydia Velazquez said, “Throughout her career, time and again, Jenny Rivera has proven herself a dedicated public servant. Her ascension to the Court of Appeals is excellent news for all New Yorkers. I wish her all the best and am confident she will approach this next challenge with her trademark sharp intellect and tireless commitment to justice.” John Sexton, president of New York University, said, “I am thrilled by the Senate’s confirmation of Professor Jenny Rivera to the New York State Court of Appeals. I have known Professor Rivera since her days as a student at N.Y.U., and I have witnessed her grow to be a distinguished member of the bar and a defender of civil rights and social justice. She is a deeply intelligent and compassionate individual — traits that I am sure she will bring to the bench as an associate judge and public servant. In her new role, she will serve New Yorkers fairly in the court and enhance our system of justice.” Although Rivera is a longtime Bronx resident, state Senator Daniel Squadron noted that she grew up right on the Lower East Side in the Baruch Houses. ”I was honored to vote in support of Jenny Rivera’s confirmation to the New York Court of Appeals,” Squadron said on Monday. “Professor Rivera will not only make a highly qualified jurist — she is an inspiration for New Yorkers on the Lower East Side and throughout New York.” The state senator also praised Rivera’s “ongoing commitment to her community through her work on the Grand Street Settlement board.” “I hope that kids on the Lower East Side were watching today as we confirmed Professor Rivera,” Squadron said. “She proves that, while it’s not easy, wherever you start out it is possible to rise to the state’s highest court — or to any place you dream. Congratulations, future Justice Rivera!”
CORRECTIONS: An article on the threatened sale of the Old Chelsea Station post office in last week’s issue of The Villager incorrectly stated that the building was landmarked. However, it is neither an interior or exterior New York City landmark, thought it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places… . Last week’s Scoopy’s Notebook about Jon Geballe beating Arthur Schwartz in the district leader vote by the County Committee incorrectly referred to the district as the 64th Assembly District, Part A, but it’s the 66th A.D., Part A.