Sheila Abdus-Salaam, an associate judge on New York State’s highest court and the first Muslim judge in the US, was found dead in the Hudson River on Wednesday.
Officers with the New York Police Department's Harbour Unit on Wednesday afternoon responded to a report of a person floating by the shore near West 132nd Street in Upper Manhattan, The New York Times reported.
Judge Abdus-Salaam, 65, was taken to a pier on the Hudson River and was pronounced dead by paramedics. Her husband identified her body.
The police are investigating how she ended up in the river, and it was not clear how long Judge Abdus-Salaam, who lived nearby in Harlem, had been missing.
There were no signs of trauma on her body and she was fully clothed, the police said. A law enforcement official said investigators had found no signs of criminality. They are yet to ascertain the cause of her death.
Since 2013, Judge Abdus-Salaam had been one of seven judges on the State Court of Appeals.
Before that, she served for about four years as an associate justice on the First Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, and for 15 years as a State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan.
She had also served as a lawyer in the city's Law Department.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday that Judge Abdus-Salaam was a pioneer with an "unshakable moral compass".
"Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a fairer and more just New York for all,” he added.