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Judges with local ties among nominees for state's highest court

An Appellate Division justice from Buffalo and another Appellate justice who graduated from the University at Buffalo and its law school are among the seven candidates nominated to fill an upcoming vacancy on New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. Senior Associate Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. of Grand Island has reached mandatory retirement age and will leave the court Dec. 31.

The candidates recommended by the State of New York Commission on Judicial Nomination include Buffalo native Erin M. Peradotto, currently an associate justice in the Appellate Division, Fourth Department. She also was a nominee in 2014 and 2015. Peradotto is a graduate of East High, UB and the UB Law School.

Judith J. Gische, an associate justice in the Appellate’s First Department, also received her bachelor’s degree and law degree from UB. She was previously nominated in 2015. Although a resident of the New York City area, she is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee of the UB Law School.

Other nominees are Eric O. Corngold, an attorney in private practice, trustee of the State University of New York and commissioner of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption from 2013 to 2014; Caitlin J. Halligan, now a lawyer in private practice but former state solicitor general from 2001 to 2007, and a previous nominee in 2015 for chief judge and associate judge; and Benjamin E. Rosenberg, general counsel to the New York County District Attorney, a former assistant U.S. attorney and nominee in 2015.

Also nominated are Robert A. Spolzino, an attorney in private practice who was a State Supreme Court justice, served as an associate justice in the Appellate Division for five years and was previously nominated in 2015; and Rowan D. Wilson, an attorney in private practice previously nominated in 2013, twice in 2014 and again in 2015 for both associate and chief judge and who clerked for James R. Browning, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The list of nominees was sent to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday and the governor is required to announce his appointment between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15. The State Senate then has 30 days to confirm or reject the appointment. The next scheduled vacancy on the Court of Appeals comes Jan. 1, 2022, when Associate Judge Eugene M. Fahey of Buffalo reaches mandatory retirement age.

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