On Tuesday, June 4, 2024, Fox News reported that many of the judges on the New York State Appellate Court who will hear former president Donald Trump’s appeal have previously donated to Democratic candidates and campaigns.

The appellate court, known as the First Judicial Department, consists of 21 justices who will decide Trump’s appeal of his recent conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. According to records obtained by Fox News, 14 of the 21 justices have personally donated to Democratic campaigns and committees prior to their appointment to the appellate court. No records could be found of donations to Republican, Conservative, or Liberal parties or candidates.

All but one of the justices were appointed by Democratic governors, with the sole exception being appointed by former Republican governor George Pataki. Some judges, such as Justice Marsha Michael, have ran for office as Democrats themselves. Michael sought a seat in the New York State Assembly in 2014 as a Democratic candidate.

Records revealed several judges made political donations well before joining the bench. For instance, Justice Ellen Gesmer contributed thousands of dollars to prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer when she was a private attorney. Other judges like Justice Jeffrey Oing donated to the New York State Democratic Committee as recent as one year before first being elected to a lower court.

While Democratic donor history alone may not indicate bias, some note the perception of impartiality is still important for the highest appeals court in New York. However, others point out there is no evidence political views have influenced any rulings. So far, Trump has scored some wins in the court, like having bond amounts reduced.

The article brings attention to the political affiliations and fundraising histories of the appellate judges, facts that could be seen as influential in the minds of critics. However, the article also notes proof of actual bias is lacking, and the court has ruled both for and against Trump before. Ultimately, the impartiality of the judiciary in politically charged cases remains an issue with reasonable arguments on both sides.



Source: Fox News