Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam '77 Nominated to State’s Highest Court

If Confirmed to Court of Appeals, Abdus-Salaam Would Join Fellow Alumni Jenny Rivera '93 LL.M. and Robert S. Smith '68 LL.B.


Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam

New York, April 5, 2013—Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today nominated Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam ’77 to fill a vacancy on New York’s Court of Appeals, the state’s highest appellate court.

Abdus-Salaam, who would be the first African-American woman to serve on the Court of Appeals, was designated an associate justice in the Appellate Division’s First Department in 2009. She was elected as a New  York Supreme Court justice in 1993 and again in 2007. Prior to serving on the bench Abdus-Salaam  worked as the general counsel of the New York City Office of Labor Services, as an assistant state attorney general, and as a staff attorney at Brooklyn Legal Services. She is being nominated to fill the seat of Theodore Jones Jr., who died in November.
An announcement from Governor Cuomo’s office praised Abdus-Salaam as one of New York’s “most respected and experienced jurists.”
Columbia Law School Dean David M. Schizer, the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law and Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics, said Abdus-Salaam “is a magnificent choice whose wisdom, fair-mindedness, analytical power, integrity, and compassion will bring great distinction to the New York State Court of Appeals.”
If confirmed to the Court of Appeals by the State Senate, Abdus-Salaam would join a bench that includes fellow alumni Jenny Rivera ’93 LL.M. and Robert S. Smith ’68 LL.B., who was appointed in 2003 by former Gov. George E. Pataki ’70. Rivera was sworn in last month after being nominated by Gov. Cuomo to fill the seat vacated by Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, who retired.
Abdus-Salaam, a vice chair of Columbia Law School’s Board of Visitors, graduated from Barnard College in 1974. She was a Charles Evans Hughes Fellow at the Law School.
The State Senate has 30 days to confirm or reject Abdus-Salaam’s nomination.