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Unvaccinated Judge on New York’s Highest Court Faces Possible Removal From Bench


A judge on New York state’s highest court could face removal from the bench for refusing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 jab mandate.

Jenny Rivera, an associate judge on the state Court of Appeals, has participated remotely in court proceedings since the fall.

Rivera’s switch to remote work started when the state court system’s COVID-19 jab mandate took effect, and unvaccinated employees could not enter court facilities.

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Times Union reported:

She is now one of four state judges who face referral to the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct, according to a person familiar with the process who spoke on background to discuss a personnel matter. The commission could move to admonish Rivera, or remove her from the bench.

Rivera, 61, was nominated to the Court of Appeals in 2013 by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and confirmed by the state Senate to a 14-year term. She had previously served as a tenured professor at the City University of New York School of Law, where she directed the school’s center on Latino and Latina rights and equality.

The seven-member Court of Appeals sits about once a month in Albany. The remaining six judges, including Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, have met in person since October, while Rivera has appeared by video conference.

As noted by The New York Times via The Defender:

On Monday, Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for New York’s Unified Court System, said court administrators told 156 court employees — along with the four judges — that they failed to meet qualifications for employment, and if they do not comply with the vaccination requirements in the next two weeks they would be fired.


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