Judge Shirley Troutman was nominated by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the state Court of Appeals, New York's highest court.

Hochul is turning to a judge with deep ties to the Buffalo area for the nomination, her first on the court since she took office Aug. 24.

"I am proud to nominate Justice Shirley Troutman to New York State's highest court," Hochul said. "Justice Troutman has a brilliant legal mind, a fair-minded judicial philosophy, sterling qualifications, and a commitment to equal justice that guides her approach from the bench. I am confident she will serve with distinction on the New York State Court of Appeals."

Troutman's nomination had been backed by members of the clergy in New York, and has received the endorsement of Rep. Brian Higgins as well as NAACP New York President Hazel Dukes.

If confirmed by the state Senate, Troutman would be the second Black woman to serve on the state Court of Appeals.

"I am so impressed with Governor Hochul's selection of Justice Shirley Troutman to serve on the New York State Court of Appeals," Dukes said. "Not only does Justice Troutman have the right skills and qualifications to serve on the State's highest court, but she also has the lived experience to ensure she treats all who come before her with compassion, dignity and respect."

Currently, all members on the court are nominees of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Criminal justice reform advocates had pushed for a nominee with a public defender background, given the resumes of several judges include stints as prosecutors.