The state Senate confirmed Jenny Rivera, Governor Andrew Cuomo's nominee, to the state's higher court. She will be the second Hispanic woman to sit on the Court of Appeals, but her confirmation met with some pushback from Republican lawmakers. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Late Monday afternoon, the state Senate voted to confirm Jenny Rivera, Governor Andrew Cuomo's nominee, to the Court of Appeals.
The governor emphasized her credentials at a press conference following the vote.
"This appointment, I cannot tell you how excited I am on both a professional level and a personal level. When you look at Jenny's resume, it is incomparable," Cuomo said.
But it was precisely Rivera's qualifications that were called into question by Republicans last week during Rivera's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
She eventually cleared the committee, but some state senators accused the governor of "social engineering" with his pick, a line of attack that continued in the senate floor.
"To make this confirmation about one's ethnic background instead of qualifications demeans the great Court of Appeals that our state has always had," said State Senator John Bonacic, a Republican from Mt. Hope
State Senator John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican, said, "If a decision is to be made that a Hispanic is going to be appointed by the governor of the state of New York — and that's obvious, no one can deny that — shouldn't it be the best possible candidate he could appoint? And I don't think this candidate is the best."
Critics say Rivera has no bench experience. Most recently, she was a law professor at CUNY.
Democrats say her qualification that has never been called into question before.
"Many of us were somewhat surprised if not offended by the line of questioning and the assaults leveled against Jenny Rivera," said Manhattan Senator Adriano Espaillat.
Rivera will sit on the bench for 14 years, but that could be extended to 18 years. Her term technically began last month.