Published on: Friday, August 12, 2022

A federal judge in Utica rescinded his retirement this summer amid controversy over his appointed replacement being from Albany, not the Utica area (article available here).

Hurd, according to a Nov. 1, 2021 letter to President Biden,said he would make the career move to senior status "upon the confirmation of my successor."

President Joseph Biden nominated Jorge A. Rodriguez July 13 to take the place of Judge David N. Hurd, who serves in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of New York.

Rodriguez would be the first Hispanic judge to preside over the Northern District, according to the White House.

However, a day after Rodriguez's nomination, Hurd, 85, wrote to the Biden administration to immediately withdraw his intention to take senior status, expressing his viewpoint that his successor should live in the Utica area, and serve out of the federal courthouse there.

"I will take senior status if a confirmed successor lives in this area and is permanently assigned to the United States Courthouse in Utica, New York," he wrote.

Since 2014, Rodriguez, 43, of Clifton Park, has served as a New York State assistant attorney general, based in Albany.

Hurd wrote to Biden to reiterate he was rescinding his retirement, stating he would remain on active status for the foreseeable future. This means there doesn't appear to be a path to the role for Rodriguez at the moment.

“It has always been the expectation that Judge Hurd’s successor would sit in the Utica courthouse, and Jorge Rodriguez has committed to doing so,” said Jess Fassler, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s chief of staff, in a statement.

A January report by the Brookings Institute said that, of Biden’s 41 appointees in his first year, 78% were women, 29% were Black, 17% were Asian American, and 2% were Native American. Fifteen percent of appointees were Hispanic.