TOMPKINS COUNTY N.Y. –– Two attorneys, Elizabeth Aherne of Ithaca and Justice Molly Reynolds Fitzgerald of Broome County, have both announced their intentions to run for two open seats on the New York State Supreme Court representing the Sixth Judicial District.

The Sixth Judicial District encompasses all of Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins Counties. The vacancy Aherne is aiming for will be created by the pending retirement of Tompkins County-based State Supreme Court Justice Robert C. Mulvey. Fitzgerald is running for re-election to fill her own seat.

Justice Fitzgerald was first elected to the Supreme Court in 2007. In announcing her bid for re-election, Justice Fitzgerald said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to sit on the supreme court for the last 14 years. I hope the voters will give me the opportunity to continue in this capacity.”

In addition to her duties as a trial court Judge from 2008 until 2019, Fitzgerald also served as the Administrative Judge for the Sixth Judicial District from 2016 through 2019. In that capacity, she oversaw all of the courts in the district.

On top of her professional life, Fitzgerald is the mother of three adult sons. She is a graduate of Seton Catholic Central High School in Binghamton and Trinity College in Washington, D.C. Justice Fitzgerald received her law degree from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

Aherne, like the current seat holder Mulvey, is a Republican candidate with more than 20 years of legal experience. She began her career as a tax associate working for Caldwalader, Wickerhsam and Taft LLP, a New York-based law firm, and subsequently served in the same role at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, a London based law firm. Prior to opening her own law practice in 2008, she served as an associate attorney with Schlather, Stumbar, Salk and Park, LLP in Ithaca.

For the past 12 years, Aherne has owned and operated her private law practice in Ithaca. She handles cases involving a wide range of law including custody, divorce, wills, trusts and estates, business, real property, and personal injury law.  

“My most important role has, and always will be, using the law as a guide to protect the vulnerable, as an attorney for children in abuse and neglect proceedings,” Aherne said in her candidacy announcement. She continued, “a justice of the Supreme Court must understand the issues facing people from all walks of life in order to find workable, fair and just outcomes. I want to be a justice for the people. My experience, qualifications and temperament are well-suited to effectively and efficiently resolve cases rendering fair and just outcomes,” Aherne said.

Aherne is a graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Georgetown University Law Center and John Hopkins University where she obtained a Master’s Degree in Education. Like Justice Fitzgerald, Aherne is a mother to three boys.

The 2021 General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 2. For more information on what offices will be on the ballot, visit the Tompkins Board of Election site here.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com