Do You Know Lippman?

New York's new chief judge is the most powerful person you don't know

Jonathan Lippman, a longtime administrative judge, is New York's new chief judge.

Gov. David Paterson, who appointed Lippman, broke up the solemn ceremony with his trademark humor. He joked that birds were singing and children were playing because almost all of the state's lawyers were gathered in one room.

The entertainment didn't stop there.

"This is an extraordinary day in the history of New York state jurisprudence,  a governor is in court voluntarily," Paterson said to raucous laughing and applause.

Lippman got his own one-liner in: As Ciparick prepared to swear him in, Lippman turned to the crowded court room and said "This is not like Judge Roberts -- she's going to get this right."

John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, stumbled over the presidential oath when he swore in President Barack Obama.

Lippman's formal swearing-in comes after his confirmation by the state Senate. He is already presiding over the Court of Appeals and the state's court system.

Lippman replaces Chief Judge Judith Kaye, who retired Dec. 31.

Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, who has been acting chief judge since Kaye resigned, swore in Lippman on Wednesday.

While noting Lippman's qualifications, several senators have criticized the selection process. They say the Commission on Judicial Nomination failed to include any women and there was only one minority on its short list of potential nominees.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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