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First openly gay judge confirmed for state’s highest court

June 21, 2017 GMT
Friends and family applaud as New York Court of Appeals Associate Judge Paul Feinman, center, is confirmed by the Senate on the last day of the legislative session on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
Friends and family applaud as New York Court of Appeals Associate Judge Paul Feinman, center, is confirmed by the Senate on the last day of the legislative session on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s highest court has a new member.

The state Senate on Wednesday confirmed Paul Feinman to serve on the Court of Appeals. He will be the first openly gay person to serve on the court.

Feinman has been a judge for more than 20 years. He fills a vacancy created by the death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, who was found dead in the Hudson River near her Manhattan home in April.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Feinman and on Wednesday called him a “trailblazer” whose career has been dedicated to the causes of justice and fairness.

Senators from both parties hailed Feinman’s experience and said he would be an excellent addition to the Court of Appeals.