Gov. David A. Paterson nominated Jonathan Lippman to head the New York Court of Appeals in January 2009, making him the chief judge of the state. The choice was a gamble: The judge, a longtime court administrator, did not have a long history of deciding cases, and there was almost no record of his political views.
Now, a year in, the parameters of the Lippman court are coming into focus. He has helped turn the Court of Appeals into a scrappier, more divided and more liberal panel, its rulings and court statistics show.