LeGaL was terribly saddened to hear of the death of New York Court of Appeals Associate Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam yesterday. Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated her to the state's highest court in 2013, following her distinguished service on both the city's trial and appellate benches.
Although she leaves behind a broad legacy for all New Yorkers as a trailblazer and an astute jurist, most notably for our community, she authored last August's groundbreaking Brooke S.B. nonbiological parenting rights decision, finally overruling the unnecessarily restrictive and discriminatory Alison D. interpretation of New York's parental visitation and custody statute. In doing so, she recognized that pieces of paper, or the lack thereof, do not always fully capture the reality of every family. Her legacy will live on for generations in the many children that will now be able to maintain bonds with all of their parents, regardless of whether they were married or adopted before separating.
She was also a great friend of this bar association, often popping into our smaller events without even needing any special invitation. Her bright smile and caring demeanor will be sorely missed.