Hochul swears in new chief judge for Court of Appeals

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Gov. Kathy Hochul was in Albany on Tuesday morning to welcome a new chief judge of the Court of Appeals.

Rowan Wilson has served as associate judge for the past six years. He is the first Black chief judge in state history.

Wilson replaces former Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, who resigned in 2022.

He was nominated after Hochul’s first choice for the job, Hector LaSalle, was rejected by the State Senate. LaSalle faced criticism from liberals over decisions he made as an appeals judge.

Wilson, 62, is more palatable to liberals, who have praised the Harvard Law School graduate’s record on civil rights, labor and environmental issues.

Senate Republicans described Wilson as an “activist judge,” focusing their opposition on a recent decision he wrote overturning a rape conviction. Wilson cited the local prosecutor’s years-long delay in pursuing the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.