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State of New York

History of Reform Efforts: New York

Altering Selection Methods

Selection method and term lengths for New York judges are prescribed in the state's constitution. Thus, any changes must occur through constitutional amendment. Amendments must be approved by a majority of the members of each house of the legislature in consecutive sessions and then approved by a majority of voters.

The constitution was amended in 1977 to provide for merit selection of court of appeals judges; merit selection for other judicial offices has been established by executive order. Since the mid-1970s, governors and New York City mayors have used judicial nominating commissions to assist them in making appointments, either for full terms or to fill interim vacancies. Executive orders are the purview of each chief executive.