Due to changes in personnel in the Appellate Division, the second highest court in New York State, Staten Islander, State Supreme Court Justice William F. Mastro, has been named acting presiding justice of the Appellate Division’s Second Department. Justice Mastro, a Democrat from Randall Manor, is now the senior judge in the Second Department, and one of the highest ranking jurists ever from Staten Island. It is now up to Governor Cuomo to decide whether to make the appointment permanent, which many believe would be a feather in the cap of the Island Democratic Party.

Additionally, with Staten Island’s administrative judge, Democratic Justice Philip Minardo, turning 70, Richmond County will be seeing the appointment of a replacement. Two democrats, Justices Thomas Aliotta and Judith McMahon, are both in line for the position. Moreover, with Republican Court of Claims Judge Joseph Maltese being a purported shoe-in to the Supreme Court, Governor Cuomo will be called upon to fill the Court of Claims vacancy. The question remains whether the Governor will appoint an Islander to the position which would be a further indication of whether local democrats have any meaningful influence with the Governor.

– Annamarie G. Gentile