LatinoJustice Celebrates the Confirmation of Former Staff Attorney Jenny Rivera to the New York State Court of Appeals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2012

CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org.

Jenny Rivera, a former staff attorney at LatinoJustice PRLDEF and a law Professor at the CUNY School of Law, today was confirmed by the New York State Senate to join the Court of Appeals.

Rivera, a first-generation, New York-born Puerto Rican, has served as a staff attorney at Legal Aid Society of New York City and as a law clerk to Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor when she was at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Rivera was also Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights and a Special Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights.

She also served as an Associate Counsel for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, now known as LatinoJustice PRLDEF. Rivera joins a growing number of LatinoJustice alumni who serve as judges around the country, including former board member, the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor.

“Today we share in the pride that all of us who know Professor Jenny Rivera feel for her historic and significant professional accomplishment: Associate Justice on the New York Court of Appeals. Professor Rivera’s personal story is like so many working class Latinas who work hard to survive and then work hard to thrive. From the Lower East Side to working in a towel factory to Princeton, New York University and Columbia, Rivera epitomizes the American story. We applaud the New York State Senate for approving her nomination as we applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for making it happen,” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

Rivera, one of the few Latina or Latino law professors in the country, is a tenured law professor at CUNY Law School. She is the Founder and Director of the Law School's Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality (CLORE).

“We also take additional delight in telling the world that Professor Rivera is an alumnus of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. Years ago Jenny Rivera was a talented Puerto Rican attorney at our office leading a civil rights docket that addressed the rights of marginalized Latinas in this country. At around that time a current Deputy Mayor in City Hall, Carol Robles-Román, met now NYS Appellate Division Justice Nelson Román, who has been nominated by President Obama to sit on federal court, at a LSAT prep course sponsored by our office. And years earlier the PRLDEF Board of Directors counted on the talents of an accomplished attorney named Sonia Sotomayor, now an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. To this list of successful alumni who walked through the doors of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and there are many others, we now proudly add New York Associate Justice Jenny Rivera,” said Cartagena.

Rivera graduated from Princeton University and received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was an editor for the Annual Survey of American Law, a Root Tilden Scholar, and co-chair of the Latino Law Students Association. In 1993, She received her LL.M. from Columbia University School of Law, where she concentrated on Constitutional and Feminist Theory. Rivera is a member of the Bars of the State of New York, the Supreme Court of the United States, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the district courts for the Southern District and Eastern District of New York.

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LatinoJustice PRLDEF, established in 1972, has won landmark civil rights cases in education, housing, voting, migrant, immigrant, employment and other civil rights. Through the efforts of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Latino voters have been critical players in ensuring fair and bilingual election systems and fair redistricting opportunities for the nation’s largest minority.

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