Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) joined a coalition of civil rights organizations in sending a letter urging Judge E. Leo Milonas, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Brad Hoylman to take swift action to fill the three vacancies on the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, and prioritize judicial diversity. The composition of New York’s highest court will have a pivotal impact on the lives of New Yorkers, especially New Yorkers of color, with the potential of state courts taking a more prominent role in protecting their civil rights. The New York state judiciary, including the NY Court of Appeals, has long suffered from a lack of diversity, both racial/gender diversity and professional diversity. Now is the time for our highest court to reflect the rich diversity of the people of New York.  Three vacancies on the New York Court of Appeals present a unique opportunity to advance racial justice by including perspectives and professional experience of judges with a background in social justice advocacy.

Read the full letter here.

Legal Aid Society

Bx Defenders



Latino Justice



Western New York Law Center

Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem

Appellate Advocates

Center for Elder Law and Justice

Erie County Bar Assn Volunteer Lawyers Project



Legal Services of Central NY


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.