Paul G. Feinman (’85) Confirmed to Serve on New York’s Highest Court
The New York State Senate has confirmed Paul G. Feinman (’85) as a judge on the New York Court of Appeals, making him the first openly gay jurist to serve on the state’s highest court. Feinman currently serves as an associate justice of the appellate division of the Supreme Court in Manhattan. “With decades of experience, Judge Feinman is a leader in his field and a trailblazer who joins the court as its first openly gay judge,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who nominated Feinman to the Court of Appeals last week. “He has spent nearly his entire career serving New York courts and championing the principles of justice and fairness. With today’s confirmation, we are … adding another supremely talented and deeply respected legal mind to the state’s highest court.”
Feinman, a native of Long Island, has two decades of experience as a judge—in both criminal and civil courts—in the New York judicial system. Before becoming a judge, he was a principal law clerk in the Manhattan appellate division from 1989 to 1996. He began his career in 1985 as a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County (Long Island), and from 1987 to 1989 he served as the senior staff attorney for Legal Aid’s Criminal Defense Division in Manhattan. Feinman is a member of the Richard C. Failla LGBTQ Commission, which promotes equal participation and access throughout the New York court system regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. He served as president of the International Association of LGBT Judges (2008-11) and of the Association of Supreme Court Justices of the State of New York (2015).
“It is always gratifying when one of our alumni achieves significant success,” said Dean Garry W. Jenkins. “But when an individual builds such an exemplary career as a jurist and leader, and is able to break new ground in our nation’s pursuit of fairness for all its citizens, it’s truly an exceptional occasion. He will be a wonderful asset to the Court of Appeals and the state of New York. On behalf of the University of Minnesota Law School, I extend my warmest congratulations to Judge Feinman on his historic accomplishment.”
To read more about Judge Feinman’s life and career, see the New York Times account of his confirmation.