New York's top judge Monday announced to the state's judiciary she would resign her post at the end of August, giving Gov. Kathy Hochul an open vacancy on the state Court of Appeals to fill.
Janet DiFiore, in the letter, wrote she would be pursuing an unspecified next chapter in her career. A former Westchester County district attorney and Republican turned Democrat, DiFiore was first nominated to the court by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2015 and confirmed in 2016.
She pointed to her oversight of the courts as the legal system transitioned to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic and her efforts to expand justice services.
"Excellence is a mindset, one that is now fully integrated into the fabric of the New York courts, leaving us well prepared to meet the future justice needs of every lawyer, litigant and court user who comes to our courthouses seeking fair, timely and justice services," DiFiore wrote in the letter.
Her tenure had come under criticism, however, from progressives after the court overturned congressional and state Senate lines drawn by Democratic lawmakers earlier this year. Some court observers have also seen the court shift to the right on criminal justice related issues.
DiFiore was also a close ally of the former governor and had been his early choice to conduct an investigation of sexual harassment allegations that had been leveled against him, a move which state lawmakers refused to support.
Hochul will select a nominee to the fill the post, selecting from a slate of candidates rated by a judicial nominating comission and is subject to state Senate confirmation.
The nomination will be Hochul's second to the court following the confirmation of Judge Shirley Troutman.