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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Janet DiFiore, Westchester County DA, confirmed as NY chief judge

ALBANY — Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore was unanimously confirmed Thursday as the state’s chief judge to lead the Court of Appeals and the state’s judicial branch.

Her nomination by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was supported strongly by Republicans, who controlled the confirmation, and from her fellow Democrats.

The recurring concern during her discussions with lawmakers over two days, however, was her independence from Cuomo. The Democratic governor had appointed her to head the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which has long been criticized by some commissioners and good-government advocates as too close to Cuomo.

Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) said he, too, was worried about her judicial philosophy and her “judicial voice.”

“It really requires thoughtful application of law,” said Hannon, a lawyer. But he said he has learned about her and talked to DiFiore and is confident she will be a fair judge.

“I commend the governor for a great appointment,” Hannon said on the Senate floor.

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