In the News

Lawyers Consider Ruling

Last week’s Federal Court ruling, which struck down as unconstitutional New York’s decades-old system of electing state Supreme Court justices, marked the culmination of more than a century of calls to break the stranglehold of party bosses over our state courts. Reformers should take a well-deserved bow – and then start running for office.There may never be a better chance than right now to put a crop of honest, independent men and women on the bench. Federal Judge John Gleeson has ordered open party primaries for Supreme Court, the state’s general trial court. Gleeson also abolished judicial conventions, which were nothing more than rubber stamps on the patronage picks of county bosses …
For New York, that’s revolutionary. In 1847, our state became the second (after Mississippi) to choose judges by popular vote – but the elections quickly became bogged down in political corruption. By 1870, according to a history of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, “the decline of quality on the bench under the elective system and the necessity for reversing this trend had been among the chief reasons for founding the Association.”


Daily News
January 31, 2006