Dems tap Lancman’s wife for judgeship

By Alex Robinson

City Councilman Rory Lancman’s (D-Fresh Meadows) wife has been nominated by the Queens Democratic Party as its candidate for a Queens Civil Court judgeship.

The county committee voted to endorse Morgan Lancman for one of two judgeships Monday morning.

The former state assemblyman ran against the Queens Democratic Party’s candidate when he lost to U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) in a 2012 congressional race, but then ran with party backing for his Council seat the following year.

He then supported the Queens Democratic Party’s candidate for Council speaker, Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Brooklyn), in a losing bid.

His loyalty in that race may have helped the timing of his wife’s nomination from the county Dem machine, but Lancman said more was at play.

“It’s a combination of politics, what’s available and where you are in terms of how long you’ve been waiting. For her, she’s been waiting a while, her qualifications are beyond reproach and people in the courts system know and like her,” he said. “My wife had all three things going for her and the political stars aligned.”

Lancman said his wife had been up for consideration for several years and had passed through an independent screening panel in order to be considered.

“It was inevitable her term would come up,” he said. “It just happened to be this year and we’re happy about it.”

The councilman’s wife has most recently served as a court referee in Queens Supreme Court. Before that, she was a principal law clerk under Queens Supreme Court Judge Roger Rosengarten.

She had worked in a private practice for a few years after she graduated from New York Law School in 1994, Lancman said. She then went on to work as an attorney in the city comptroller’s office, before starting to work in the courts.

If elected, Lancman’s wife will join a courthouse whose judges have faced criticism in the past for giving politically connected attorneys lucrative appointments, such as guardianships and receiverships.

Lancman said he has never received any such appointments.

“My family jokes I’m useless to them as a lawyer,” he said.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.