New York's Chief Judge Kaye: Her Separate Opinions Bode Well for Renewed State Constitutionalism at the New York Court of Appeals
46 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2008
Date Written: 1994
When Judith Kaye was elevated by New York's then-Governor Mario Cuomo to the center seat of the state's highest court, she was already a national leader in promoting judicial federalism. In her judicial opinions as an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, as well as in her scholarly writings and presentations, Kaye had earned a reputation among academics and state court judges nationwide for examining and extolling the independent state constitutional protection of individual rights and liberties. It was thus to be fully expected that her tenure as Chief Judge would see an increased reliance at the court on state constitutional law.
In this article, Professor Bonventre surveys the dissenting and separate concurring opinions authored by Kaye during her ten years on the court prior to her elevation as Chief Judge. These opinions pointed to a probable change in the court's direction when Kaye was appointed to replace her successor, Sol Wachtler. He had become increasingly conservative and increasingly hostile to independent state constitutional adjudication. An examination of the court's constitutional decisions shortly following Kaye's ascendancy to the center seat does, in fact, show a significant change in the court's direction more in line with those of the new Chief Judge.
Keywords: Judith Kaye, New York Court of Appeals, judicial federalism, state constitutional law, constitutional rights, Sol Wachtler, dissenting opinions, state courts
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