Spin Cycle

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ALBANY - The most senior judge on New York's top court is retiring early, as expected, electing not to complete her full term.

Susan Read, 67, sent a letter to Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman on Tuesday, saying she will step down from the Court of Appeals as of Aug. 24 even though her 14-year term doesn't run out till January 2017. The Saratoga Springs resident had hinted earlier this spring that she would retire early, joking that her husband said if she served her full term she'd wind up widowed or divorced.

Read, a Republican, is one of just two remaining Court of Appeals appointees by former Gov. George Pataki, also a Republican. The other is Eugene Pigott Jr., of Buffalo, whose term runs till August 2020.

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Phillips' appointment in 2003 not only made the court a Republican majority at the time but also a female majority for the first time ever. She had served as Pataki's deputy counsel from 1995-97.

During Read's time, analysts viewed her as one of the most conservative judges on the seven-person bench.

Her departure means that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, will soon get to make his fifth and sixth appointments to the court. Lipmman, 70, is retiring at the end of the year because he has reached the mandatory retirement age for judges.