Judge Shirley Troutman was confirmed on Wednesday by the state Senate to New York's top court, drawing bipartisan praise in the process. 

Troutman is Gov. Kathy Hochul's first nominee to the state Court of Appeals since she took office on Aug. 24. Troutman, who replaces Judge Eugene Fahey, is the second Black woman to serve on the court. 

"Justice Shirley Troutman will be an extraordinary addition to the New York State Court of Appeals," Hochul said in a statement. "During her confirmation hearings, Justice Troutman showed New Yorkers why she is well-suited to join our state's highest court: her extraordinary qualifications, her superlative legal mind, her fair-minded judicial philosophy, and her commitment to equity and justice for all New Yorkers."

The court is currently composed entirely of judges appointed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a confluence of his 10 years in office and retirements from the bench. 

Judicial nominations to the state's top court are rarely if ever controversial for governors or the state Senate, which confirms the nominations. 

But some criminal justice reform advocates had raised concerns with Troutman's confirmation, pointing to her stint as a local prosecutor. One of Cuomo's final appointments to the court was Judge Madeline Singas, a former Nassau County district attorney. 

“Governor Hochul missed her opportunity to begin improving the Court of Appeals, instead doubling down on former Governor Cuomo’s approach to the Court," said Peter Martin of the Center for Community Alternatives. "And many senators who indicated that they believed New York deserved a new kind of Court failed to back their words up with actions."

Sen. Brad Hoylman, the chairman of the chamber's Judiciary Committee, pointed to the hour-long confirmation hearing his panel held for Troutman's nomination. 

"I think she was able to describe her lived experiences that would move her on the Court of Appeals," he said, adding, "Members walked away from that hearing confident this is a progressive addition to the Court of Appeals, a progressive addition we need, frankly."

Democratic Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who voted in favor of Troutman's nomination, said she nevertheless wants more "professional diversity" on the bench going forward. 

"The absence of public defenders and civil rights attorneys hinders New York’s highest court from protecting and advancing the rights of criminal defendants, and leads to only a narrow application of the Court’s full power," she said. "I implore the Commission on Judicial Nominations and the executive to make it their highest priority to select their next candidate from non-traditional legal backgrounds and those without a prosecutorial background for future seats on the court.”