Governor Spitzer has nominated Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Theodore T. Jones to a position on the NY State Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. You may remember Jones's name from such incidents as the Transit Strike of 2005. Jones is the one who fined the TWU $2.5 million and sentenced TWU president Roger Toussaint to 10 days in jail.
Jones would be the lone black jurist on the Court of Appeals, since Pataki did not renominate Judge George Bundy Smith. Spitzer says that "race, gender did not play a role in my selection process" and that he picked the best candidate. Jones would be replacing Judge Albert Rosenblatt. The court will then have two Cuomo-appointees, four Pataki-appointees, and Spitzer's choice - still pretty Republican-leaning. The NY Times notes that the two judges appointed by Cuomo, Chief Judge Judith Kaye (you know her from the juror videos) and Judge Carmen Ciparick, have terms that will expire in the next year.
Albany Law School professor Vincent Bonventre tells the NY Sun that Spitzer's selection of Jones is "absolutely fascinating" since Jones is not a favorite of the Democratic Party, given the harsh sentence imposed on the TWU. Still, Jones will likely be confirmed by the Legislature.
Interesting facts about Jones: He was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens; he fought in Vietnam; Jones's father worked on the LIRR; and he did not released grand jury minutes for the 1991 Crown Heights traffic accident, much to the disappointment of Brooklyn DA Hynes and Mayor Dinkins. And here's the Court of Appeals website.