Justice Paul Feinman made history today by becoming the first openly gay judge on New York’s highest court.
Feinman was nominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the Court of Appeals and was confirmed by the state’s Republican-led Senate, according to the New York Law Journal.
‘The fact that we are promoting today someone who is the first openly LGBT person in the 170-year history of the Court of Appeals is a historic event we have to make note of,’ said openly gay State Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democrat from Manhattan.
Feinman’s ascension to the high court comes amid tragic circumstances.
He takes the seat on the bench left vacant following the mysterious drowning death in April of Sheila Abdus-Salaam who the first black woman to serve on the Court of Appeals.
Abdus-Salaam’s death remains under investigation.
‘With today’s confirmation, we are honoring the legacy of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam and adding another supremely talented and deeply respected legal mind to the state’s highest court,’ Cuomo said in a statement.
It was in 1996 that Feinman was elected to the bench for the New York City civil court in Manhattan. Then in 2007 he was elected to the Supreme Court in the 1st Judicial District in Manhattan in 2007.
Cuomo appointed Feinman to serve as an associate justice of the appellate division of the Supreme Court in Manhattan in 2012.