Justice Montour First Native American To Serve in New York State Appellate Division

ALBANY, NY – Governor Kathy Hochul announced her appointment of Justice Mark Montour to the New York State Appellate Division’s Fourth Judicial Department, which serves Central and Western New York. Justice Montour, currently a New York State Supreme Court Justice, will become the first Native American justice to serve anywhere in New York State’s Appellate Division.

“Justice Mark Montour is a talented legal mind who brings a thoughtful approach to the justice system,” said Governor Hochul. “I am honored to appoint Justice Montour to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, and I congratulate him on making history as the first Native American justice to serve in this role.”

Justice Mark Montour has been appointed to the Fourth Department, Appellate Division. He has served as a New York State Supreme Court Justice and was elected to the position in 2013. Justice Montour was previously the acting Administrative Judge for the Eighth Judicial District and the Supervising Judge for Genesee and Wyoming County Town and Village Justice Courts. He is an enrolled member of the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Nation and is recognized on the Kahnawake Kanien’keha:ka Registry. Justice Montour was the first-ever Native American to be elected to a state level judicial position in New York State. He is also the Chairman of the New York State Tribal Courts Committee, State Facilitator for New York-Federal-State and Tribal Courts and Indian Nations Justice Forum, and a member of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics.

“The appointment of Justice Mark Montour to the New York Appellate Division’s Fourth Judicial Department is a historic appointment, and a testament to his reputation as a principled justice who believes deeply in fairness,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “Since he became the first Native American ever elected to a New York State court position and throughout his career, Justice Montour has worked tirelessly to unify communities, foster respect for tribal nations and forge harmonious relationships between state and tribal courts. By applying the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) principle of considering the impact of all decisions unto the Seventh Generation to his work, he has merged traditional customs with law to the benefit of all people – especially our state’s youth. Justice Montour is a tremendous role model for Native Americans and all New Yorkers. We congratulate Governor Hochul on her appointment of such a well-qualified and dedicated justice.”

The Judicial Screening Committee for the Appellate Division, Fourth Department reviewed the applications and conducted interviews of dozens of applicants. Only those applicants deemed “highly qualified” by the Committees were submitted to the Governor for her consideration.

Under the New York State Constitution and Judiciary Law, the Governor has the authority to appoint Justices to each Appellate Division from among those who have been elected as Justices of the Supreme Court. These appointments are not subject to Senate confirmation.