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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Albany Times Union Editorial on Chief Judge: On the merits? Prove it.

On the merits? Prove it.
Albany Times Union EDITORIAL - January 9, 2009

Picking a new senator for New York isn't the only election in which Gov. David Paterson essentially is a voter of one. The governor in the next few days is expected to name a chief judge, subject to Senate confirmation, to lead the Court of Appeals and direct the state court system . There really are two issues before the governor — who should fill the vacancy created when Judith Kaye retired, and how to fix a flawed selection process.

This post requires both the legal acumen to serve on the state's highest court and the skills to oversee New York's Unified Court System, which covers the entire judicial system down to the smallest village justice court. While the supervisory task is shared with the chief administrative judge, it falls on the chief judge to be vision and voice of the justice system. And, with the state facing huge deficits, the pressure will be on to ensure that the courts and all their machinery, including legal services for the poor, are efficiently run and adequately funded. For that task, it appears that Jonathan Lippman, the longest-serving chief administrative judge in state history, stands out among the seven candidates the governor is considering. A former chief state Supreme Court clerk and judge in Supreme Court, the Court of Claims and the Appellate Division, he served as chief administrative judge from 1996 to 2007, before then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer appointed him presiding justice of the Appellate Division in the First Judicial Department.

That is not to say there might not be more qualified people out there when it comes to either the administrative or legal duties. The fact is, we don't know, and neither do most New Yorkers. Which brings us to our second point: the shortcomings of New York's merit selection system of picking Court of Appeals judges. Under the system, created in the 1970s to make the selection process more about qualifications than politics, potential candidates are reviewed by a panel named by the governor, chief judge and legislative leaders. It gives the governor a list of three to seven names from which he must choose. The problem is, the commission's process is, by law, largely secretive. All its transcripts and other files, even the names of who else was considered, are confidential.

The governor doesn't get much guidance, either. Delivered to Mr. Paterson, for example, was a stack of publicly available material such as news clippings and court decisions, brief biographies containing less information than a newspaper obituary and a letter listing the candidates, with no analysis. When the governor complained, the panel provided a somewhat more expanded report. We suggest Mr. Paterson, the new chief judge and the Legislature take a fresh look at this process. There is no reason why, for example, the commission's interviews shouldn't be public, and why it can't deliver a publicly available memo explaining what sets its candidates apart. If citizens are to accept the idea that a governor's choice is better than the collective wisdom of the people, the least the people could get is good explanation of why their would-be judges deserve to sit in judgment of us all.

The issue:  The post of New York chief judge is vacant.

The Stakes:  The governor, new chief judge and legislative leaders should revisit the selection process.


Anonymous said...

Well, Paterson didn't pick on the merits. Plain and simple. Business as usual: we get what THEY pay for- favors by dirty people to dirty people equals dirty dealing.

Anonymous said...

I fully believe that Governor David Paterson has betrayed all the people of the state of New York with his pick of Jonathan Lippman. He only picked Lippman because of Shelly Silver and we should remember this if and when Paterson EVER runs for anything again. While I've always supported David Paterson, I will NEVER back him again for this one, and big, misdeed of choosing Lippman to continue the corruption throughout the state's court system.

Anonymous said...


'On the Merits' is constructively a meaningless expression used by arbitrary, abusive and incompetent courts to foreclose an issue from ever again seeing the light of day and/or the inside of another courtroom.

THE JUDICIARY; 'Where NOTHING is at appears, and where Plaintiff is never to be seen again .....with money.'

Anonymous said...

One positive point, is that Lippman is 63 so he will be out in seven years.

Anonymous said...

Lippman has worked his entire career for the Office Of Court Administration and this shortened version known as... OCA... has and continues to operate in most courthouses, as it did back in the racist, uncivil and unsophisticated 1970's...when I first started with them.
This is not a compliment for anyone and assuredly speaks to the obeservation that Lippman as a long time administrator for OCA in many positions, and as an alleged reformer for OCA, has FAILED the people of the state of NY...tremendously and with the weakness of an obvious political hack!
The Governor's choice is overtly scummy NY politics which is evident to even us in upstate NY.
So even though upstate never has a say in who will controls our government entities....the choice of anyone associated with the past corrupt judicial reign of Judy a negative vote from some of us upstate... silent majority.

Anonymous said...

Who will replace Lippman as 1st Dept presiding justice?

Anonymous said...

To above BLOGGER OF MERIT: Please elaborate on your statement. Do courts rule and decide cases ONLY in favor of defendants?

Anonymous said...

I dont understand your question

Anonymous said...

TO BLOGGER OF MERIT-I don't understand your comment about the judiciary and "nothing is as it seems." Why don't you provide more insight on that.

Anonymous said...

Hey BLOGGER OF MERIT-you sound very bitter-maybe if you were passed up it was because you lacked merit!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately that's not the case. In the final analysis, 'law' [or merit] is only as good as one's ability to enforce it. Read for yourself

I have been suffering the positively egregious consequences of judicial fraud and perpetuation of judicial fraud for more than a decade. It has caused me, at age 59, the loss of my career, my professional licenses, and essentially everything else I once had in life. I have documented the statutory and civil rights violations committed against me by court officers, submitted supporting evidence to supreme and appellate courts, and eventually the Court of Claims, AND enunciated my rights under long established controlling principles of state and federal law until I was blue in the face.

On page one of my appeal from the Court of Claims I deposed "[t]he claims dismissed below seek redress and damages caused by more than a decade of judicial nonfeasance, failures of state and court employees to perform specific ministerial acts required by law, and, for void money judgments, serial false arrests, unlawful prosecutions and incarcerations by an unauthorized Department of Law prosecutor with a personal and professional conflict of interest acting ultra vires in collusion with two [2] supreme court judges acting without personal and subject matter jurisdiction.

Be advised that I can prove every claim asserted. I paid my appeal fee like everybody else and asked the court to answer the preeminent questions in the controversy.

Is Claimant entitled to recover from injuries caused by the procedural negligence of the First Department Appellate Court?

Should the Court below have dismissed my claim without having discussed the specific occurrences and transactions giving rise to the claims'?

Are the judgments identified patently void for, inter alia, lack of personal and subject matter jurisdiction? Can they lawfully prohibit Claimant from presenting claims to the State unless he represented by an attorney?

Insofar as Claimant has suffered serial unauthorized prosecutions and wrongful incarcerations by courts acting without personal and subject matter jurisdiction, and his claims are prima facie, does the Court of Claims have discretion to deny them?

I got my non-answers in the mail today from the Third Department. Consistent with every pro se motion and/or plenary action I have ever filed in any court, state or federal, the appeal is SUMMARILY DENIED. NO OPINION. In fact, NO OPINION WHATSOEVER; proving once again, categorically, that NO HUMAN BEING could possibly be on the other end of pro se papers.

So I am bitter, yes, and positively STUPEFIED at how openly corrupt, callous and defiant of the law and the rights of the People our 'honorable' courts really are.

Are you listening Senator Sampson?

Anonymous said...

to the last above post who got the decision from the third, very curious to hear what judges on the third gave you the non-answer answer? curious to hear more of the background? have you considered filing in federal court and attempting to join the related cases? write to if you want to exchange info and more.

Anonymous said...

Okay. To Anonomous Blogger who wanted more insight on my comment, read Linda Kennedy at the following link.

You will find her absolutely right on.

Anonymous said...

Hey. To ""

I be in touch directly.

Anonymous said...

"If citizens are to accept the idea that a governor's choice is better than the collective wisdom of the people, the least the people could get is good explanation of why their would-be judges deserve to sit in judgment of us all."

From the above TU Article on this Link.


Lets Hope the Message gets through.

Anonymous said...

Advise to Paterson. Be a man; follow the example of T. Roosevelt as governor and advise the Committee that none of the choices are acceptable. Make them send more choices and ask that they release a full record of their input data. Better to have no chief justice than allow a totally corrupt swine to run our courts for the next seven years. Honor MLK, he didn't run from confrontation; be a man; fight for your people (black,white and brown NYer's)

Anonymous said...

AMEN! The Editorial of the Albany Times Union is right on! Judge Lippman is an empty suit/robe! Anyone on the inside knows that Silver is the fixer behind the curtain. If Gov. Paterson wants peace with Silver the price is to make Judge Lippman the head Judge! This whole process is a FRAUD on the citizens of the State of NY! The Feds are missing in action once again!

Anonymous said...

Not claiming to know anything about the full background of either one, though the comment on the Post above may shed some light. If what others say bears any semblance to truth, it could have been a 'lesser of two evils' option. Brooklyn (anyone from within the system) has very little respect across the board these days, and those pushing for corrections appear to be outnumbered, for the moment.

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