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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lippman Sets Course for New York

Top Judge Sets Liberal Course for New York
The New York Times by WILLIAM GLABERSON - February 17, 2010

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. To get the rulings he wants, the decisions show, the new chief judge has built alliances case by case with each of the four judges who were nominated by the last Republican governor, George E. Pataki, cracking the conservative majority. The changes to the culture of the court, New York’s highest — which has sometimes been one of the most influential state courts in the country — are especially striking when Chief Judge Lippman’s approach is compared with the judicial style of his predecessor, Judith S. Kaye. She had prized unanimity.

In the past year, the court has issued a series of sharply divided decisions that have been surprising from a judicial body with a clear 4-to-3 conservative majority. They have included decisions favoring criminal defendants and injured workers, expanding environmental challenges and extolling individual rights against the police. “The message he is sending is he doesn’t mind fighting for a much more progressive direction at the court,” Vincent M. Bonventre, a professor at Albany Law School who studies the court, said of Judge Lippman. Though fiscal and political problems have plagued Mr. Paterson, a Democrat, Judge Lippman’s nomination may be one of his most enduring accomplishments in shaping policy. Judge Lippman, 64, does not reach mandatory retirement age until 2015. Noting that the Supreme Court had yet to rule on questions presented by Global Positioning Systems, for example, the Court of Appeals ruled 4 to 3 that the State Constitution barred the police from placing GPS tracking devices on cars without a warrant. A different Republican judge joined the three Democratic appointees in another divided ruling, this one striking down a youth curfew in Rochester as unconstitutional, though other courts around the country have approved such laws. The Lippman court has also shifted ground on worker injury suits, saying that in the past the court too rigidly limited some of them. It has also signaled a new interest in arguments from criminal defendants, sharply increasing, at Judge Lippman’s urging, the number of appeals it is considering. In an interview, Judge Lippman acknowledged that he had a different approach from that of Judge Kaye, a longtime collaborator in running the courts. She was also nominated by a Democrat, former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, but during her nearly 16 years as chief judge, she often worked for unified rulings. “I am a result-oriented person,” Judge Lippman said, “and the result I am looking for is not necessarily unanimity.” According to the court, unanimous rulings declined from about 82 percent during 2008, Judge Kaye’s final year, to 69 percent in Judge Lippman’s first year.

During Judge Kaye’s tenure, the court became more conservative partly because of the arrival of the four Pataki judges. Professor Bonventre, the Albany Law School expert, said that divided decisions became more common in Judge Kaye’s final years but that dissents increased further after Judge Lippman arrived. The rulings indicate that on occasion, Judge Lippman has tailored his arguments to attract one of the four Pataki judges. In a decision he wrote in September, the court waded into politics by overruling two lower courts that had said Mr. Paterson’s appointment of Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor was unlawful. That view, Judge Lippman wrote, would “frustrate the work of the executive branch.” It was an argument that seemed crafted to appeal to Judge Susan P. Read, a staunch conservative but a former top legal adviser to Governor Pataki, who was not shy about exerting executive authority. It was a party-line vote, except that Judge Read broke with the other Pataki appointees. In the environmental case, Judge Lippman and the other two Democratic appointees aligned with two of the Republican-appointed judges, Victoria A. Graffeo, a onetime Republican legislative lawyer, and Robert S. Smith, who had sometimes expressed libertarian views. The decision, written by Judge Smith, appeared to involve tradeoffs. It tartly noted that the suit sought to kill a proposed hotel to protect obscure species, the Eastern spadefoot toad and the worm snake. The hotel got a green light. But in the process, the case gave environmentalists one of their most important court victories in New York in nearly 20 years. The majority said a 1991 ruling of the court had been too narrowly applied to limit those who could bring such suits to immediate neighbors. Stephen F. Downs, the lawyer for Save the Pine Bush, the Albany group that brought the suit, said someone on the bench seemed to be paying for an environmental victory with a defeat for the spadefoot toad. “My impression,” Mr. Downs said, “was there was a certain amount of horse trading that went on.” That would be vintage Lippman, people who know him say. He was a get-things-done administrator, said a retired judge, Betty Weinberg Ellerin, who has known him throughout his 38-year legal career.

For nearly 20 years, Judge Lippman climbed the ladder in behind-the-scenes positions in the rough-and-tumble courts of Lower Manhattan that handle personal-injury suits, matrimonial cases and business battles. He was a court attorney, researching and writing rulings for judges and then supervising other lawyers. Then, from 1989 to 2007, he was first the deputy and later the chief administrator of all the state courts, running the vast system with a budget of more than $2 billion and thousands of employees. Justice Ellerin said that from the start, the young Mr. Lippman was more interested in getting to results he considered right than in technical rules. The way he often got there, she said, was by using a keen sense of what motivates people he works with. That politician’s method of operation is evident now at the Court of Appeals, where the power of the chief judge is a matter more of leadership and influence than of control. Justice Ellerin said he had a skill at winning people over, even when he refused to give them what they wanted. He makes them feel he understands what makes them tick, she said. “After he says ‘no,’ the person walks out thinking he is the greatest person in the world,” she said. For years, officials at the state’s Office of Court Administration used a term to describe Judge Lippman’s ability to persuade people to do things they did not want to do. The term was coined by the court system’s communications director, David Bookstaver: The officials would say they had been “Lippmanized.” Such maneuvering appears to have been on display at the court — in personal injury cases, for example. Conservatives often describe these as the measure of an out-of-control pro-plaintiffs legal system that grants huge awards for fraudulent suits. In a series of cases decided by the Court of Appeals, however, Judge Lippman has declared that he takes a different view.

Early in his tenure, he wrote a 6-to-1 decision in favor of an injured patient against two doctors, a ruling that the dissenter, Judge Smith, called a “gross injustice” to the doctors. In early December, Judge Lippman went further, indicating that he planned some changes in injury cases. He “reluctantly” agreed with the dismissal of a damages suit against New York City by a public school teacher who was injured by a student, saying an earlier ruling limiting such suits should be changed. A couple of weeks later, he got all seven votes in the case of an injured worker, declaring that the court in the past had too narrowly construed a law originally intended to help workers win suits against employers. Legal commentators have noted the change from Judge Kaye’s court, which had voted 7 to 0 the opposite way in at least one case involving an injured worker. The protection of the law for injured workers, Judge Lippman wrote, had “been construed to be less wide than its text would indicate.” In the coded language of the courts, that was a hand grenade tossed at the old Court of Appeals, before the arrival of Chief Judge Lippman. Both Judge Lippman and Judge Kaye said in interviews that there was a clear difference in their approach to judicial decision-making. “I landed on the side of unanimity, where possible, without compromising principles,” Judge Kaye said. When there were disagreements, she said, she would often try to “fold something into the majority opinion” that would get more votes. Judge Lippman was appointed chief administrative judge by Judge Kaye in 1996 and was widely perceived to be her closest aide. But in the interview, he seemed to relish fostering a more divided court and having differences over cases aired publicly. “Sometimes you have a choice,” he said. “You can compromise and get a unified court, or sometimes it’s better to have a divided court because you have decisions that are not fuzzy. You have bolder decisions.” Some lawyers who follow the court say the tone does seem different under Judge Lippman, who grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, from the tone under Judge Kaye, who grew up in the Catskill Mountains village of Monticello. Judge Kaye worked for many years at New York’s prestigious corporate law firms, a different legal world from the one of the Centre Street courts where Judge Lippman was a young man. “There is more testiness than I have seen in the past,” said Oscar G. Chase, a law professor at New York University.

Among the comments dissenters on the court have made about the majority rulings under Judge Lippman are “illogical,” “nightmarish,” “doomed to fail” and intended “to elicit editorial approval.” Judge Smith seemed beside himself in one dissent, saying the majority ruling was so detached from reality that it was like “deciding whether I would be a bicycle if I had wheels.” For the moment, the noise sounds like music to Judge Lippman. He had great respect for Judge Kaye’s way of running the court, he said. “We were joined at the hip during all of those years,” he said. “But this is different. This is me meeting my constitutional responsibility in the best way that I can.”

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you are not a Jew some of us call it Witchmanized!

Anonymous said...

Lippman's course is really the fast track to the hell of corruption.

Anonymous said...

Let us see we have pretty much exhausted our banks and we got the Federal Stimulus money to help us out....
We are still in the process of bankrupting our State
As for unemployment, that will be exhausted and broke soon.....
So please file a comp claim and make sure you use
HOWE DOWE SCREWTHEM STEIN or we will annihilate your case, you see we use the DA and Police to track you and your medical records,
if you are not our client, your lawyer will commit felonies and ditch your case or else he will be put out of business and there is nothing you can do about it!

Anonymous said...

don't worry we will commit felonies upon you again, 6 1/2 years from now, just to protect our last Felon Lawyer and make it cost you for not using
HOWE DOWE SCREWTHEM STEIN!

Anonymous said...

IF YOU CATCH US WE WILL JUST BACKDATE AND DROP ALL CHARGES BUT TELL EVERYONE ELSE YOU HAVE CHARGES SO THEY HANG YOU!

Anonymous said...

Did someone catch them using those SJT trials for some and their outcomes, so now they are saying use the comp system, we will set up the courts for that one for our friends, they will not catch us....

Anonymous said...

The NYT turns its blind eye to all the corruption in the courts reported here and praises Lippman for his corruption that benefits his lawyer cronies. Do liberal causes benefit when a corrupt legal system brings fake/exaggerated cases that lead to large legal fees. Those fees are passed onto the people and their government. What about the 40 million dollars corruption involving Lippman and Judge Ramos; has the NYT looked into that? Every Court of Appeals action is really the "People v Lippman and his judge/lawyer crony cabal." Your canary needs something better at the bottom of his cage.

Glenn Beck Fan said...

Lippman "doesn’t mind fighting for a much more progressive direction at the court.”

Oh GREAT. Just what this country needs. More progressive direction, i.e. away from our stodgy old CONSTITUTION.

Anonymous said...

Lippman hasn't ruled on GPS being used with warrant authorization....because he and Kaye used the GPS device on me and my friend...when they found out that they would be sued in Federal Court...a court they influence anyway...to see if they could find any place THAT WE PASSED BY OR STOPPED IN FRONT OF....that could be considered criminal or worth slanderous or defamatory allegations, that they would put in writing and pass on as judicial documents of supreme authority and truth.
The device was located in a vehicle and removed from that vehicle at my personal home.
So.....how can Lippman ask any of you in America to seek a warrant....when he knows he has done this personally without a warrant...and enjoyed it very much!
I am certain he is shocked I know he authorized the device for me...right A**HOLE!

Anonymous said...

So, is the pro pedophilia, pro child abuse, pro violence and divorce and child custody case rigging of Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. still free? Slap some silver bracelets and do a make over in orange to this criminal. This monsters is worst than a pedophile, drug addict, prostitute, nut case, SHE IS A CORRUPT LAW GUARDIAN INVOLVED IN PROMOTING CHILD PORN.

Anonymous said...

She sure can use a makeover, not only is she a nut, pro pedophilia, pro violence, pro child sexual abuse but the ugly dude wears an ugly dress to cover up the ugly rest.

Anonymous said...

This is a nothing article. I wonder if Lippman paid for this article or one a Public Relations firm paid for this article.
This is a joke of an article.
Wayne Barret from the village voice had it right. Also it says thier are not of opinions from Lippman, that is false, thier are hundreds possibly thousands from Lippman. Before Kaye promoted him
he wrote many opinions, even when he said nothing or agreed with the other opinion. He just likes to say something. He is in favor of law firms and not peoples rights. When he is in favor of poeople it is not the injured worker he is in favor it is the law firm that will collect 1/3 for the injured worker. I am infavor of the injured worker but after reading many of his opinions that it was the law firm that he was in favor of. Look at his record on judge pay raise and him raising the cap on thier allowances. If he was in favor of the poeple he would not be pushing for more money for perks for judges in a economic downturn. I wonder if who wrote this article is a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Interesting definition of the term "liberal."
Covering and facilitating corruption and misconduct.
Who could have guessed that someone who was elected in a rigged election would have ended up so "liberal"?

Anonymous said...

Judge Linda Christopher of Rockland County is a true progressive whack job. She lies ,cheats and wrecks families all in the name of progress.
Her colleagues are all cowards and ass kisses who would not dare expose her ineptness or vile conduct on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Oh well maybe this judge knows the whack job and pro pedophilia of Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. in Orange County is just next door.

Anonymous said...

Oh well maybe this judge knows the whack job and pro pedophilia of Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. in Orange County is just next door.

Anonymous said...

because he and Kaye used the GPS device on me and my friend...when they found out that they would be sued in Federal Court

i wonder if that is being done to me, since there are many odd coincidences, hey Fed Guys, you busy, please check to make sure I am safe, I have a right to be safe , I am being stalked by psychotic people who need to be in prison!

Anonymous said...

Hey Georgie
Can you call up people I do not know or talk to and get information and the more psychotic the better you like it, never ask what the truth is, let the psychosis continue or shall I say GANG BANGS, I know that town enjoys a good gang bang, shall I name names! What do the queens have on someone, I wonder!

Anonymous said...

when he knows he has done this personally without a warrant...and enjoyed it very much!

yeah, Beiter how can you falsely arrest a female who will not sleep with your buddy or his sister, throw her around and months later
the warrant showed up!
Thanks for proving your Hate Crimes in this town I was almost late for hospital the next morning for a procedure, after being thrown around, the low educated low mentality idiot couldn't spell, it has more than one syllable.........


and may the favor be returned, protect your butt at the expense of others!
It is the Beiter and Brauer Gang Bang!
Hey Messers, guess who set you up, your own friends!!!!

Anonymous said...

hey Messer, while you are educating yourself, look up Munchhausen!

Anonymous said...

I would like to thank my Sheriffs and my Da for being such absolute idiots and especially my paid lawyers for covering it all up......
do not have the mentally ill investigated or charged, allow them to continue to attack the innocent residents!

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, the Wojtaszeks are no longer in the DA's Office but their legacy will always continue!

Anonymous said...

maybe it is lunacy! Which seems to be the mentality of their associates!

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Anonymous said...

Lippman lost his compass if he ever had one a long time ago. He and his buddy Shelly have always been for sale. This article is a bad joke, feel good trash.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Lippman & Ramos complaint, is anyone investigating?This is sick, people are getting hurt in all this, We need a proper Grievance Committees and a proper Ethics Bill for our elected officials.........

william galison said...

I'm embarrassed that my name sounds like William Glaberson's.

This article is proof that Glaberson and the New York Times have been commandeered by the corrupt judiciary.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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