ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gov. Kathy Hochul nominated Associate Judge Rowan Wilson to the Chief Judge position at New York’s Court of Appeals. She also said that she intends to nominate Caitlin Halligan to take the spot he would vacate if confirmed.

“These highly-qualified, thoughtful jurists will serve with distinction and ensure our courts deliver justice to all,” Hochul tweeted on Monday.

Wilson has been an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals for since 2017. His confirmation would prove historic, making him the state’s first Black person to ever fill the role. He has degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law from the early ’80s.

“Serving as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals would be the honor of my career,” Wilson said in a press release announcement from the governor. “Protecting the rights of New Yorkers is my top priority.”

Previous Chief Judge Janet Difiore resigned in the summer of 2022. Since then, the nomination process has been controversial; Hochul first nominated Justice Hector LaSalle, leading to conflict between the governor and her own party in New York’s legislature.

“In more than 100 dissents and concurrences, [Wilson] has shown that he understands how the law impacts vulnerable New Yorkers and that he is deeply committed to making equal justice under the law a reality,” remarked the social justice organization the Center for Community Alternatives. “Nonetheless, certain elements of Judge Wilson’s jurisprudence—particularly regarding undocumented defendants, labor misclassification, and foreclosure victims—are concerning.”