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The top court in New York just got its first out gay judge

Joseph McCormick June 21, 2017
Paul Feinman

Paul Feinman

The top court in the state of New York has got its first out gay judge.

Paul Feinman, a mid-level appeals court judge, was appointed on Wednesday to the New York Court of Appeals.

Not only that but the out gay judge was approved unanimously by the state Senate after being appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Andrew Cuomo

He takes a seat on the seven-member court of appeals which became available after the sudden death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam.

Feinman was one of several appointments approved by the Senate in the last week.

His appointment was celebrated by the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee John Bonacic who said the judge had demonstrated independence through more than twenty years on the bench.

“When we looked at the cases that Judge Feinman decided over the years, one of the things that impressed me the most was that he always reviewed the law in front of him and to the best of his ability he always tried to apply the law without any bias or prejudice,” said Bonacic.

Feinman has worked his way up from New York city courts through to the Appelate Division.

His husband was present for his approval by the Senate, as well as the state’s chief judge Janet DiFiore.

The appointment was celebrated by LGBT groups in the state.

The first Muslim judge in the US, Sheila Abdus-Salaam, was found dead in April.

The associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals was the first African-American to hold a seat on that court and the first female Muslim judge.

During her career, the judge helped require the state of New York’s parenting laws, which allowed same-sex couples to seek help during custody disputes.

This included getting rid of conventions which defined ‘parents’ as a man and a woman.

She was nominated to the New York Court of Appeals by Governor Cuomo in 2013, and was unanimously approved.

Of her death, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said: “I’m deeply saddened at having lost a dear friend and colleague, and the court has suffered a terrible blow. She was a superb jurist and an even more superb human being.I knew her for many, many years. To some degree, we grew up together in the court.

“I’ve known her in all her different roles in the court. It’s just so shocking. She was a very gentile, lovely lady and judge. If you ask anyone about her, people would say only the most wonderful things. That’s why it makes it even more difficult to understand.”

More: Andrew Cuomo, judge, paul feinman, Sheila Abdus-Salaam, US

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