The New York state Senate in the coming days will take up a pair of nominations to the state's highest court, the state Court of Appeals.
Confirmations to the court are normally uncontroversial and pro-forma events for the state Legislature, though the court can hold an outsized role in the lives of New Yorkers.
"When the court of appeals decides something, it applies statewide and it can have great impacts on peoples' lives," said Rob Rosborough, an attorney with the firm Whiteman Osterman & Hanna.
Cuomo nominated Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas and Administrative Judge Anthony Cannataro to fill the critical seats on the court.
Singas would replace retiring Judge Leslie Stein; Cannataro would fill the seat of the late Judge Paul Feinman, who died in March.
Singas would also be the third judge on the bench with a prosecutorial background, joining Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Judge Michael Garcia, a former federal prosecutor. Rosborough noted that's not an indication, necessarily, of how Singas would rule in cases.
"It certainly does swing the court with at least three seemingly consistent votes on behalf of the prosecution," Rosborough said.
Still, Alice Fontier, of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, has concerns with the addition of yet another judge with prosecutorial experience on the bench.
"Don't have just one path, which is career prosecution," Fontier said.
At issue is a year of criminal justice law changes sought by Democrats in the state Legislature following a reckoning surrounding police brutality and racism in New York and the United States.
"The idea that a career prosecutor is the best choice to go to our highest court at this moment in time really defies logic," Fontier said.
Confirmations to the state Court of Appeals do not play out like the titanic struggles in the U.S. Senate when a U.S. Supreme Court seat becomes vacant. Fontier, nevertheless, wants the Senate to closely review Singas's record.
"I think it's encumbent upon this Senate to do what the people elected them to do which is to guard against more of the same, more law and order and really dig into her background, her history and really the other nominees," she said.