New York Women's History Month Judiciary
Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Justice Sonia Sotomayor (1954–Present), Justice Sotomayor is the first Latina to serve on the Supreme Court. From an early age, she demonstrated a propensity for helping people and overcoming incredible odds. After graduating from Yale Law, she spent five years working as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan. That experience left a strong impression on her that she has continued to draw from over the course of her career. In 1987, she was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to the State of New York Mortgage Agency’s Board and in 1988 she served on New York City’s Campaign Finance Board. She also served on the Board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund for 12 years. Each of these positions afforded her an opportunity to advocate for fairness in public policies affecting urban development, political activities and minority representation. In 2009, President Barack Obama made Justice Sotomayor his first appointment to the Supreme Court.


Justice Judith S. Kaye

Justice Judith S. Kaye

Justice Judith S. Kaye (1938–Present), Born in Monticello, New York, Kaye was the first woman to serve on New York’s highest court and to occupy the State Judiciary’s highest office. A graduate of Barnard College and New York University School of Law, Kaye made history in 1983 when she was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to serve as Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals. After ten years on the Court, Kaye was named Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, a position that oversees New York’s entire court system. In her 15 years as Chief Judge, Kaye earned a reputation as a strong leader. She helped establish new standards and courts which specialized on issues ranging from drug addiction to mental health. This innovative reform helped streamline the court system and allowed for more consistency in case outcome. As Chief Judge, Kaye presided over many groundbreaking cases and wrote the notable dissent regarding the right for gay couples to marry. Judge Kaye’s tenure on the Court of Appeals has left a lasting and positive mark on New York’s court system.

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