NY Daily News
For four decades, New York City's Criminal Court and Family Court judges have gotten on the bench not because of their fealty to a county boss, not because they deliver votes or cash to the mayor, but because an independent panel deems them qualified.
Mayor de Blasio just trashed that precedent to settle a political score.
Set up by Ed Koch, the 19-member committee's job is to recommend three candidates for each judgeship, one of whom the mayor then picks.
Nine committee members, a near-majority, are appointed by the mayor. Four are nominated by local appellate judges. Another two, by law school deans. The remaining four, by the state's chief judge, currently Janet DiFiore.
In September, DiFiore nominated attorney Daniel Horwitz — an accomplished former prosecutor and former chairman of the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics — for an open spot.
Many weeks later, Horwitz learned the mayor had refused to seat him. This marks the first time any mayor has ever nixed a chief judge's recommendation.
"He didn't fit. It's as simple as that," said de Blasio. Actually, it's as simple as vindictive payback.
Under Horwitz, JCOPE, fulfilling its responsibility to the public, sued de Blasio's Campaign for One New York after the mayor's fund refused to comply with a subpoena demanding documents related to the possibility the mayor's group engaged in unreported lobbying.
Horwitz failed only the political purity test — with devotion to Bill de Blasio the new litmus.