Today’s news:

Brooklyn jurist appointed to State bench

Governor Spitzer’s decision to appoint a Brooklyn jurist to the New York State Court of Appeals is being hailed as a triumph for the borough as well as members of the Kings County Democratic Party, who bandied together to get Judge Theodore Jones the job. “[Judge Jones] is a qualified judge with good credentials, so we got all the City Council members, the legislators in the Assembly and the State Senate from Brooklyn and the Congressional delegation together to sign letters and the Spitzer administration responded,” said Assemblyman Vito Lopez, chair of the Kings County Democratic Party. “This is a big first for us, because we were competing with requests from other boroughs.” Jones, the administrative judge of Brooklyn Supreme Court, was named to replace Judge Albert Rosenblatt, who is retiring from the state’s highest court at age 70. He is the first Democrat to be appointed to the conservative bench of Appeals since before the beginning of the Pataki administration, insiders said. “Justice Jones will bring his experience and unquestioned integrity to the Court of Appeals,” said Governor Spitzer, when announcing the appointment. “He has earned the trust and respect of all those who have worked with him throughout his years of service. I know he will bring his deep respect for the law as well as his sense of duty to the public to this new role.” Jones, who was admitted to the bar in 1973, is a graduate of Hampton University and St. John’s University School of Law. He also served on active duty with the United States Army, stationed in Vietnam from 1968-1969. Before he was elected to Supreme Court, Justice Jones worked as a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society, a law secretary for Judge Howard A. Jones of the New York State Court of Claims, and a private practitioner. “It is an honor to be nominated for this esteemed position,” said Jones. “I am humbled by the trust placed in me and I will do my best to live up to that great responsibility.” Lopez said that Jones’ appointment shows that Spitzer is listening to the Brooklyn democratic delegation. “It’s symbolic,” he said. “It reflects the fact that Brooklyn is still alive and has people with outstanding credentials.” The fact that Spitzer is listening to the Kings County Democratic Party shows that the group has “turned a corner.” “Brooklyn is the largest borough in the country and has the largest number of Democrats,” he said. “I’m sure that all of these areas played a role.” “Brooklyn is extraordinarily well represented by Judge Jones. He is the best of the Brooklyn bench,” added City Councilman Lewis Fidler, who is also the Democratic district leader for the 41st Assembly District. “But a great deal of credit should go to the county leader and the borough’s elected officials who united to present this request to the governor.” Fidler added that the appointment shows that Spitzer “recognizes a quality appointment and the need for diversity.” Jones’ elevation to the New York State Court of Appeals would not be official until Spitzer’s appointment is ratified by the New York State Senate, which is heavily Republican. Insiders said, however, that State Senator Majority Leader Joe Bruno has already announced that he does not plan to dispute Spitzer’s judicial appointments.

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