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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has reached into Republican ranks with his appointment of Jeremiah J. Moriarty III, a Court of Claims judge, to a vacancy in State Supreme Court.

The former Cattaraugus County Republican chairman took over the Supreme Court seat June 20, following his appointment by Cuomo and his confirmation by the State Senate, said Andrew B. Isenberg, district executive for the 8th Judicial District. Moriarty will serve until the end of the year, Isenberg said, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. He will be still eligible for three additional terms of two years each until he reaches 76.

The new judge assumes the post held by former State Supreme Court Justice Janice M. Rosa, who retired in January.

Moriarty is eligible to immediately begin his Supreme Court duties but is expected to remain on the Court of Claims bench for the next several weeks to complete several pending cases, Isenberg said.

Though Moriarty will not be eligible to run, Isenberg said the position is slated to be on the November general election ballot. His elevation to Supreme Court also opens a slot on the bench for the Court of Claims, which handles lawsuits against the state. The 10-year term will be filled by gubernatorial appointment.

A Franklinville resident, Moriarty is a 1965 graduate of Georgetown University and the University at Buffalo Law School in 1968. He served eight years as GOP chairman in Cattaraugus County before his 2005 appointment by then-Gov. George E. Pataki to the Court of Claims. His late father, Jeremiah J. Moriarty Jr., was also a Court of Claims judge.

Richard Azzopardi, a Cuomo spokesman, said the governor has made only a “handful” of appointments to the trial bench during his tenure in office. He added that the new judge was appointed after his candidacy was vetted by the state’s judicial screening panel.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com