Albany, NY (February 11, 2013)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York Senate confirmed Jenny Rivera to serve on the New York State Court of Appeals. Professor Rivera has taught at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law since 1997. She was nominated by Governor Cuomo on January 15.
Professor Rivera, a longtime Bronx resident and New York native, has had a long and distinguished career in public service. She has held many varied positions, as a staff attorney at Legal Aid Society of New York City, as an Associate Counsel for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (renamed Latino Justice PRLDEF), and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She was Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights from 2002 to 2007. In 2007 she joined the Office of New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as Special Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights.
"Professor Rivera has dedicated her career to public service and defending the rights of all New Yorkers, and today she joins the judges of the State’s highest court—the New York Court of Appeals,” said Governor Cuomo. “Her extensive experience in civil rights law and her passion for making our state a fairer and more just place will greatly benefit New York. I congratulate Professor Rivera on her confirmation.”
Professor Rivera said, "I am deeply honored to have been confirmed as the next Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for nominating me, but for also demonstrating a true commitment to promoting diversity on the bench and throughout government. He has transformed New York State by promoting public service and the ideals of fairness and equality. I look forward to joining my colleagues on the bench, and am eager to begin the work of faithfully upholding our state’s laws and Constitution.”
This year, Professor Rivera received the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association's Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. In 2012, she received the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Diversity Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2011 received the NYSBA Kay Crawford Murray Award. She is a graduate of Princeton University, and received her J.D. from the New York University School of Law and her LL.M, from Columbia University School of Law.
Seymour W. James, Jr., President of the New York State Bar Association, said, "We congratulate Professor Jenny Rivera upon her appointment as an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals. We applaud Governor Cuomo for nominating such an excellent candidate, and we commend the Senate for confirming her. After a thorough review, our Committee to Review Judicial Nominations found Professor Rivera well qualified’ to serve as an Associate Judge. That is the committee’s highest designation, and represents a determination that Professor Rivera possesses preeminent qualifications for judicial office. We wish Professor Rivera a long, successful tenure on the Court.”
Elena Goldberg Velazquez, President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, said, "On behalf of the Puerto Rican Bar Association Board of Directors and as the President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, I am extremely pleased that the New York State Senate has confirmed Professor Jenny Rivera's nomination to the Court of Appeals. Professor Rivera is a long standing and consistently active member of the PRBA. Professor Rivera is not only a distinguished scholar, she has a stellar legal mind that will serve the New York State community extraordinarily well. Today the Puerto Rican and Latino Legal Community is proud that our community continues to be represented in the Court of Appeals. We are grateful to all our elected officials who have championed the efforts of our community and have ensured that our highest court reflects both quality and diversity."
José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation, said, "From her extensive court experience including her work as an administrative law judge at the Division of Human Rights and her litigation record with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education Fund, the Legal Aid Society and the New York Attorney General’s Office, Professor Rivera has proven that she is the best candidate to serve on the New York Court of Appeals. We know that she will bring a breadth of professional and cultural perspective that will only serve to make our courts more reflective of our great state. We congratulate her and Governor Cuomo on the confirmation.”
Milagros “Millie” Baez O’Toole, President of the New York City Chapter of 100 Hispanic Women, said, "In the many years I have known Jenny, she has been deeply involved in her community. She has proven to be a consummate professional and has an exemplary record, especially during her clerkship with Justice Sonia Sotomayor. We could not be more delighted and proud of her confirmation to the Court of Appeals.”
Janet Sapio-Mayta, President of the Capital District Chapter of 100 Hispanic Women, said, “We are very happy and proud regarding the confirmation of Jenny Rivera to the State Court of Appeals. As we savor this momentous occasion, we extend Professor Rivera our heartiest, best wishes and support as she assumes her new position on the State Court of Appeals to ensure equity, fairness and justice for all.”
Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, said, “Today we share in the pride that all of us who know Professor Jenny Rivera feel for her historic and significant professional accomplishment: Associate Judge on the New York Court of Appeals. Professor Rivera's personal story is like so many working class Latinas who work hard to survive and then work hard to thrive. From the Lower East Side to working in a towel factory to Princeton, New York University and Columbia, Rivera epitomizes the American story. We applaud the New York State Senate for approving her nomination as we applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for making it happen.”
U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez said, “Throughout her career, time and again, Jenny Rivera has proven herself a dedicated public servant. Her ascension to the Court of Appeals is excellent news for all New Yorkers. I wish her all the best and am confident she will approach this next challenge with her trademark sharp intellect and tireless commitment to justice.”
Robert T. Maldonado, Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, said, "The historic confirmation of Prof. Jenny Rivera today sends an important message to lawyers all across the state and country that a career of service to the public is indeed honorable and adds an important perspective to the highest courts of this nation. We congratulate Professor Rivera on her confirmation and Governor Cuomo for nominating such an excellent candidate."
Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of the City University of New York, said, "Professor Rivera brings an impressive breath of professional experience and judgment to the New York State Court of Appeals. She is highly qualified for this position, and I believe that our state's justice system, and indeed all New Yorkers, will be well served. I congratulate Professor Rivera and Governor Cuomo on her confirmation.”
Michelle J. Anderson, Dean of the CUNY School of Law and Professor of Law, said, “Professor Rivera is an excellent addition to the Court of Appeals. Her deep understanding of the law and unwavering commitment to fairness will serve the court and the people of New York well. We commend Governor Cuomo for nominating Professor Rivera and the New York State Senate for confirming her.”
John Sexton, President of New York University, said, “I am thrilled by the Senate’s confirmation of Professor Jenny Rivera to the New York State Court of Appeals. I have known Professor Rivera since her days as a student at NYU, and I have witnessed her grow to be a distinguished member of the bar and a defender of civil rights and social justice. She is a deeply intelligent and compassionate individual – traits that I am sure she will bring to the bench as an Associate Judge and public servant. In her new role, she will serve New Yorkers fairly in the Court and enhance our system of justice. I congratulate Professor Rivera and thank Governor Cuomo for his nomination.”