Sheila Abdus-Salaam joins New York's highest court

Sheila Abdus-Salaam joins New York's highest court

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Sheila Abdus-Salaam (New York State Unified Court System photo) Sheila Abdus-Salaam (New York State Unified Court System photo)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Sheila Abdus-Salaam was sworn in Thursday as the newest member of the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. She is the first first black woman on that court.

Abdus-Salaam, 60, previously served as an associate justice of the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who knows Abdus-Salaam from their days in law school, spoke at the swearing-in ceremony in Albany. He called the judge "intelligent, serious, witty," the AP reported.

"Who knew that we would both attain such high positions," Abdus-Salaam said at the ceremony, "and that you would be the first black United States attorney general, and I would be the first black woman on the New York Court of Appeals?"

Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Abdus-Salaam to the high court in April. The next month, the state Senate unanimously confirmed her nomination.

"She is joining an esteemed group of judges on the State's highest court and brings a valuable voice to the bench," Cuomo said in a statement. "From the beginning of her career, as a lawyer at East Brooklyn Legal Services, Judge Abdus-Salaam has worked diligently to protect the rights of New Yorkers, and I am confident she will continue that mission and defend our Constitution with integrity."

A graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School, Abdus-Salaam has served as general counsel in the New York City Office of Labor Services, an assistant attorney general, a Civil Court judge, and a Supreme Court justice.

In 2009, then-Gov. David Paterson elevated Abdus-Salaam to the Appellate Division.

With Abdus-Salaam's elevation, now four of seven judges on the Court of Appeals are women. Judges serve 14-year terms.

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