WEEK IN REVIEW : Doris Ling-Cohan earns renomination after spurious slight


New York State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan was nominated for reëlection by delegates to a judicial convention, according to news reports.

The renomination was made by acclamation on Thursday, 22 September, at Harlem Hospital, according to a report filed by the journalist Andy Humm for Gay City News.

The Hon. Judge Ling-Cohan's reëlection was initially put in jeopardy after members of the judicial screening panel of the Manhattan Democratic County Committee voted 12-10 in August not to renominate the sitting justice. Following that initial vote, reports described as scurrilous anonymous attacks were published by The New York Post, seemingly defending the controversial vote by the judicial screening panel.

In the outrage that followed, news reports were published, reviewing the history of undue influence in the selection of judicial nominees. Furthermore, Assemblymember Keith Wright (D-Harlem) faced calls for his resignation as chair of the Manhattan Democratic County Committee. Grassroots activists then launched an effort to expose possible conflicts of interests facing some of the judicial screening panel members. In the time leading up to the judicial convention, 15 of the 22 judicial screening panel members appeared to reverse their initial decision to withdraw electoral support from the Hon. Judge Ling-Cohan by sending a one-sentence letter to the judicial screening panel leaders, indicating that the Hon. Judge Ling-Cohan deserved "continuation in office."

The action by Manhattan Democrats to reverse course on the Hon. Justice Ling-Cohan contrasts with the situation in Brooklyn, where a decision still stands by the judicial screening panel of the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee to not support the renomination of a sitting judge, the Hon. New York State Supreme Court Justice Laura Jacobson.

Both justices have garnered esteem by advocates for an independent judiciary for their record of rulings that has, at times, sided with tenants or the community over the interests of real estate developers and Democratic Party insiders.

The Hon. Judge Jacobson has faced her own barrage of attacks published by the tabloid press. In August, the Hon. Judge Jacobson filed a lawsuit in her personal capacity against Brooklyn Democrats, charging that Brooklyn Democratic Party insiders had violated rules, amongst other claims, in the fumbling of her renomination process.

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