Court of Appeals: NY's High Court Judges, Selection, the Current Court & Decisions on NY's Governance
59 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2008
Date Written: October, 17 2008
This is the October 16, 2008 presentation at the Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, New York by Professor Vincent M. Bonventre. It is the latest update of previous years' presentations, with some substantive additions. It explores the ideological dynamics within the court from the latter years of the chief judgeship of Sol Wachtler through the tenure of Chief Judge Judith Kaye up to spring 2008. It looks at the individual judges and the patterns in their voting records and in the decisional record of the court as a whole. It concentrates on divided criminal law cases which tend to be highly sensitive to ideological leanings. It also considers the patterns in public labor law cases and in the frequency of written dissents. The presentation also outlines and critiques the process for merit selection of the judges, and the evolution of the court through the gubernatorial appointments of Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, and Eliot Spitzer. The result today is a somewhat less conservative, less law and order court, despite the remaining majority of appointees by Republican Pataki. The difference may be the newest appointment to the court by now-former Governor Spitzer. Finally, the presentation looks at decisions over the past several years in which the court has delineated the powers of the separate branches of New York State government, of state agencies, state officials, and municipalities.
Keywords: New York Court of Appeals, Judith Kaye, judicial selection, merit appointment, criminal law, state court
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