BY: MATTHEW LEVY
Before petitioning season begins, Civil Court Judge hopefuls undergo a rigorous screening process with their respective political parties in order to ensure the most qualified candidate is put forth for petitioning and potential election. In anticipation of the County-wide Civil Court Judge endorsement vote by the New York County Democratic Party Executive Board, I, WHPDC Judiciary Chair Matthew Levy, met with candidates to discuss their legal experiences.
In particular, I asked about their extracurricular activities such as community board involvement, bar association memberships, and volunteer activities in order to get a better understanding of their connections to their communities. Above all, we look for judicial candidates that reflect the values and diversity of our community. We look for role models we can be proud of.
Afterward, the WHPDC and I hosted a reception to bring elected officials and Civil Court Judge candidates together under one roof in West Harlem to ensure that WHPDC members are at the forefront of the judicial and political conversations in New York County. The reception was well attended by candidates for Civil Court judge, sitting Civil Court judges, Supreme Court justices, District Leaders, County Leader Keith Wright, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Committee Members, State Senator Brian Benjamin, Assembly Member Inez Dickens, and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul.
After the interviews, reception, and much deliberation, the Club decided to support Shah Ally and Ariel Chesler for County-wide Judge. The Club was particularly impressed with Shah’s commitment to serving Community Board 12 as Chair. Ariel’s extensive publications on wide ranging social justice topics including but not limited to: feminism, sexism, gay marriage, racism, and masculinity struck a chord with our executive board because of our commitment to promoting diversity.
From left to right: El Nuevo Caribe Democratic Club President Raul Reyes, County-wide Judge Nominee Shah Ally, District Leader Corey Ortega, WHPDC Judicial Chair & Treasurer Matthew Levy, County-wide Judge Nominee Ariel Chesler, District Leader William Allen, District Leader Eddie Gibbs
At the May County Executive meeting, District Leader Corey Ortega along with other District Leaders and community leaders across New York County were in attendance to vote for nominees for judges for County-wide and the following Municipal Court districts: 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 9th. Ultimately, Shah Ally and Ariel Chesler became the candidates endorsed by the New York County Democratic Party to move into petition and election season for County-wide Civil Court Judge.
The WHPDC is proud to support such qualified candidates and we look forward to a productive relationship with these prospective judges to ensure justice in West Harlem.