JUDGE PAUL G, FEINMAN was the first out gay jurist to serve on New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. He was born on this date.

Feinman spent 20 years as a state judge prior to his elevation to the Court of Appeals, first as a justice of the New York Supreme Court (the trial-level court of general jurisdiction in the New York State Unified Court System), and the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division (the intermediate appellate courts in New York State). 

At the time of his confirmation by State Senate in 2017, he said, “Certainly my entire career has been about promoting equal access and equal justice for all and I hope I add to the diversity of perspectives that the court considers.” Feinman was regarded as having a “thoughtful and methodical” judicial approach. Judge David Saxe, who served alongside Feinman on the Appellate Division bench, considers Feinman “a moderate with progressive instincts.”

Feinman married web publisher Jay Robert Ostergaard in 2013. The couple lived on Roosevelt Island. Feinman was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2015. He abruptly retired from the Court of Appeals in March 2021, due to health concerns. On March 31, 2021, he died from leukemia at a hospital in Manhattan at the age of 61.