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Thursday, January 15, 2009


EDITORIAL- New York Post - January 15, 2009

Gov. Paterson's selection Tuesday of Jonathan Lippman as chief judge of the Court of Appeals - the state's highest judicial body - illustrates two undeniable truths about New York state politics:

* No good deed goes unpunished.

* Being in the good graces of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is always rewarding.

In picking Lippman, a presiding justice on the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court, Paterson passed over a more natural choice - Court of Appeals Associate Judge Theodore Jones. That's rather surprising: Going back more than a century, every chief judge on the Court of Appeals has first served as an associate judge. So, why would Paterson go against precedent and, incidentally, miss the opportunity to select the state's first African-American chief judge? Well, Jones, a moderate, thoughtful jurist, did his career no favors when he crossed organized labor: He was the officiating judge on the Brooklyn Supreme Court when the Transport Workers Union launched its illegal Christmas-season strike in 2005. Jones followed the spirit of law, enjoining the strike under the Taylor Law, fining the union millions and tossing TWU President Roger Toussaint in jail. (He also imposed smaller fines on two other unions that joined the transit workers in sympathy walkouts.) After the strike, Jones removed the TWU's automatic dues-checkoff, imposing a considerable financial burden on the union's leadership. Labor never forgets such humiliation - never mind that it was well-earned.

Lippman, meanwhile, had two things going for him. One, as the state's chief administrative judge from 1996 to 2007 and retired Chief Judge Judith Kaye's handpicked administrator, he shares his patron-predecessor's passion for judicial activism. But, perhaps far more important, he was "recommended" by Silver - the top legislative servant to both unions and trial lawyers. Silver, as the speaker's spokesman admitted recently, "grew up with Jonathan Lippman, and Lippman is an old friend." (Oddly, Paterson yesterday said he'd been unaware of the friendship before making the appointment, meaning that at best he's shockingly inattentive - and, at worst, truth-challenged.) As for Jones, an honest, hard-working judge who opted to uphold the law? He never had a chance.


Anonymous said...

The Post editorial only demonstrates its (Rupert Murdoch) well known and long history of hatred of unions and trial lawyers. These two entities, not withstanding their flaws, are the virtual bookend protectors of working men and women. Further even when they are corrupt it pales to the corporate greed and fraud the Post hardly complains about. The pick of Lippman appears to be regrettable, Jones may have been a better pick, however, if Jones was denied his seat for what he did to TWU that is OK also, that is a legitimate display of our democaracy as political retribution and is done everyday whether we like it or not or know that it occurred. The Post should be reminded when the TWU illegally struck in @1980 they were subject to the same punishments and none them were used against the TWU at that time,

Anonymous said...

that slap all union workers in the face.
I imagine when Paterson a Dem
goes up to Talk to Obama who is in favor of unions that will not look good.
Also if Bruno in charged in one of the investigations that will make it intresting.
Bruno is supposed to have a lot of skeletons in his closet.
I hopw if Bruno is charged they remove his case from the State of New York
Now any judge that heres his case will be tainted.

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