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Cuomo nominates Fahey to Court of Appeals

Supreme Court Justice Eugene M. Fahey of Buffalo is Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s nominee for the state Court of Appeals.

 

“Justice Fahey’s distinguished career, background and years of service on the bench will make him a formidable member of the Court of Appeals,” Cuomo said in making the announcement in a release Thursday, meeting the Jan. 15 deadline. “His two decades of service in city, state and appellate courts give him a broad perspective and I am confident he will continue in the proud tradition of the Court of Appeals, providing fairness and justice for all New Yorkers. I am proud to put forth his nomination to the state Senate.”

Justice Fahey, an associate justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in Rochester, has served in the state judiciary for 20 years. He received the highest possible rating from seven different bar and legal associations that considered him as a potential nominee to the state’s highest court.

 

“I want to thank the governor for this opportunity,” Justice Fahey said. “The New York state Court of Appeals is the pre-eminent state court in the nation. To be even considered for this position is humbling, and to be nominated is a great honor.”

Justice Fahey has participated in a number of panels and continuing legal education programs on a variety of topics, including commercial litigation. He has co-authored a chapter on “Contracts for Services” for the third edition of Haig’s “Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts,” published in 2010.

While being considered for the nomination, Justice Fahey received the highest rating from the New York State Bar Association, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, the Albany County Bar Association, the Broome County Bar Association, the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Tri-County Bar Association (Erie, Monroe and Onondaga counties).

If confirmed by the Senate, he will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert S. Smith, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 last year. By law, Court of Appeals judges must retire at the end of the year in which they turn 70. The Senate has 30 days to confirm Justice Fahey to the position.

Justice Fahey is the fourth person Cuomo has nominated to serve on the Court of Appeals. His latest nomination, Justice Leslie E. Stein, who sits on the Appellate Division, Third Department, in Albany, was nominated in October and has been waiting well over the required 30 days for Senate confirmation.

 

Cuomo’s other two nominees — Judges Sheila Abdus-Salaam and Jenny Rivera — were confirmed in 2013 and are serving on the court.

 

Cuomo thanked Judge Smith for his work on the court and his dedication to public service to New York state.

 

Cuomo also thanked Judge Judith S. Kaye and the Commission on Judicial Nomination, which she chairs, for recommending an exceptionally talented and highly qualified group of potential nominees.

Justice Fahey was appointed to the Appellate Division in 2006 by then-Gov. George Pataki. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1996 and re-elected in 2010. He also served as a Buffalo City Court judge from 1994 to 1996.

Before serving as a judge, Justice Fahey was a trial lawyer in private practice, specializing in negligence defense and appeals. He also served on the Buffalo Common Council before and after attending law school — from 1978 to 1983 — and again from 1988 to 1994.
Justice Fahey received his juris doctor degree from SUNY Buffalo Law School, also earning a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in European history at SUNY Buffalo. He clerked in the Court of Claims under Judge Edgar NeMoyer in Buffalo.

In addition to his service to the state court system, Justice Fahey is a member of the New York Bar Foundation, New York State Bar Association, the Bar Association of Erie County, the Women’s Bar Association of Western New York, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni Association. He is also a member of Housing Opportunities Made Equal, otherwise known as H.O.M.E., a fair housing organization based in Buffalo; the NAACP; Knights of Columbus; Knights of Equity; and Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Justice Fahey is married to Colleen Maroney. They have one daughter, Ann.