Yale University

New York Governor Kathy Hochul D-NY listed Abbe Gluck ’96 LAW ’00, the Alfred M. Rankin Professor of Law at Yale Law School, as one of seven candidates for Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. 

Gluck has been listed as the 11th-most-cited public law scholar in the country since 2013, and she has been widely recognized for her scholarship on federal and state courts. At Yale, she serves as faculty director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy and as a professor of internal medicine at Yale Medical School in addition to her teaching post in the Law School. The governor of New York is set to make a decision regarding the shortlist for the state’s top judicial post between Dec. 8 and 23. 

“Professor Gluck knows more about statutory interpretation than anyone else in America,” wrote Law School professor William Eskridge LAW ’78. “Her opinions would be models of rigor, clarity, and judicial neutrality.”

Anthony Cannataro has been serving as acting chief justice since September of this year, when judge Janet DiFiore retired from the position. DiFiore took office in 2016 and formerly served on the New York State Supreme Court. The shortlist was released by the New York Commission on Judicial Nominations, which is charged — by New York’s Constitution — with recommending qualified candidates to the New York governor in advance of judicial vacancies. 

The shortlist is currently being reviewed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who will pick one of the seven candidates. Hochul has already nominated one judge to the New York Court of Appeals. The first was Shirley Troutman, who Hochul put forward in 2021.

Once Hochul has made her selection, the nomination will be turned over to the New York State Senate for approval. 

“You may not realize it, but this will matter for all New Yorkers,” Hochul wrote in an op-ed for the New York Daily News. “The court rules on a tremendous range of issues — from housing protections to business disputes to medical malpractice to voting rights. You may not know it now, but you may well feel the impact of a decision from this very court.” 

Gluck graduated from Yale Law School with honors in every graded course and was awarded a Coker Fellowship in her last year. After law school, she clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and worked under Michael Bloomberg’s Mayoral Administration for the City of New York.

She has been a professor at the Law School since 2012, where she teaches courses on legislation, civil procedure and federal and state courts. 

“From the beginning of her legal career, Abbe Gluck has distinguished herself by focusing on the role played by and the needs of state courts,” wrote professor Judith Resnik. “Professor Gluck has worked for state and local government, as well as the federal government, and she has been a leader in those jobs and at Yale Law School in forging consensus so as to generate useful policies that respond to the needs of people from all walks of life.” 

Since returning to her alma mater as a faculty member, Gluck has been a founding member of the Yale Elder Law Project, the Yale Law Medical Legal Partnership Program and of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy. 

Brian D. Ginsberg ’04 GRD ’04, an appellate litigator and former assistant New York State solicitor general, told the News that Gluck’s managerial background in her academic work provides further qualifications for the Chief Judgeship, a position which demands managerial expertise. Ginsberg is a former City editor for the News.

“Even though she has not been a judge before, like some of the other nominees, she still has experience not only in thinking through legal problems — as is helpful in deciding cases — but also in being at the helm of managing large organizations as well,” Ginsberg said. 

Gluck is one of three candidates on the shortlist not currently working in a judicial post, and one of two filling academic posts. Also in consideration is Alicia Oulette, President and Dean of Albany Law School. Judge Anthony Cannataro, the current acting Chief Justice, is also on the commission’s shortlist. 

Ginsberg explained that now that the shortlist had been released by the commission, various bar association groups would dig into the records of the shortlisted candidates. Those groups would subsequently develop various ranking systems informing their recommendations to the governor’s office. 

“Really, it’s up to the governor,” Ginsberg said. “She’s trying to pick a chief judge for all New Yorkers, and so she will go up and down this list and she will evaluate.” 

In a letter addressed to Hochul, the chair of the Commission on Judicial Nomination, E. Leo Milonas, wrote that he was pleased to have fulfilled the Commission’s mandate to “conduct broad outreach to encourage wide participation in the application process.” 

The Commission received 41 applications to fill the judicial vacancy, 54 percent of which came from female applicants and 41 percent of which came from “candidates of diverse backgrounds.” Gluck would be the third woman to serve as chief judge, following DiFiore and Judith S. Kaye.

The commission proceeded to interview a total of 17 candidates ranging from various professional backgrounds, finally deciding upon the seven on the shortlist. 

We are now relying on our state courts more than ever to protect our rights,” wrote Hochul in the aforementioned op-ed. “We need our courts to defend against this Supreme Court’s rapid retreat from precedent and continue our march toward progress.”

Gluck was unable to provide a comment for this article while deliberations were ongoing. 

The next vacancy on the Court of Appeals is scheduled to occur on Dec. 31, 2027.

Ines Chomnalez writes for the University desk covering Yale Law School. She previously wrote for the Arts desk. Ines is a sophomore in Pierson College majoring in History and Cognitive Science.