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NYSBA rates COA candidates for governor

New York State Bar Association President Glenn Lau-Kee has sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo with the association’s ratings for the seven candidates under consideration for associate judge of the state Court of Appeals.

The governor must designate his choice by Oct. 3. The nominee then must be confirmed by the state Senate.

To assist with the appointment process, the state bar reviews the qualifications of candidates nominated by the state Commission on Judicial Nomination. It has rated attorneys Daniel S. Alter and Preeta D. Bansal as qualified.

Rated as highly qualified are the remaining five candidates: Supreme Court Justice Eugene M. Fahey, who sits on the Appellate Division bench in the Fourth Department; incumbent Court of Appeals Association Judge Victoria A. Graffeo; Supreme Court Justice Leslie E. Stein, Appellate Division, Third Department; and attorneys Maria T. Vullo and Rowan D. Wilson.

According to state bar guidelines, “qualified” applies to candidates who have demonstrated the necessary qualifications for the office while “well qualified” is reserved for those who possess pre-eminent qualifications. None of the candidates were rated “unqualified,” the last of three possible ratings.

The state bar considered professional ability, experience, character, temperament and other qualities in arriving at a determination for each candidate. Each candidate’s qualifications and background were thoroughly examined and each was personally interviewed.

The Sept. 16 letter from Lau-Kee may be viewed at

The state bar association has evaluated candidates for the Court of Appeals since 1967. The Commission on Judicial Nomination was created in 1978 to evaluate and recommend candidates for appointment to the high court.