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Thursday, February 12, 2009

NYLJ: Senate Confirms Lippman as Chief Judge

Senate Confirms Lippman as Chief Judge
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko - February 13, 2009

ALBANY, NY - Confronting concerns about the process that led to his nomination to the state's highest judicial office, Jonathan Lippman, on Wednesday, promised state senators who confirmed him that he would make expanding diversity in the judiciary one of his principal goals. "We all have to work together on this issue and recognize why it's important, that the courts reflect the great diversity of this state," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee prior to his confirmation as chief judge by the full Senate. "A diverse judiciary is essential."

No senators either in the committee or the full Senate voted against the nomination of Chief Judge Lippman, who was presiding justice of the Appellate Division, First Deparment, before his confirmation. However, one abstained from voting in committee and three on the floor of the Senate. The senators all praised Chief Judge Lippman's qualifications, but said they were protesting the process that brought his nomination to succeed former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to the Senate. The list of potential nominees produced by the Commission on Judicial Nomination from which Governor David A. Paterson selected Chief Judge Lippman contained the names of seven men, six of them white. The only minority candidate was Court of Appeals Judge Theodore Jones. Speaking to the full Senate, Eric Adams, D-Brooklyn, called the nominating process a "sad moment for the state of New York" and another in a long series of discouraging setbacks for the black and Hispanic legal communities. "We cannot stay in the minor leagues our entire lives," Mr. Adams, who is black, told the Senate as Chief Judge Lippman and his family looked down on the proceedings from the chamber's gallery. "We need to play in the major leagues. . . . If we can integrate the White House, we can integrate the black robes."

Judiciary Committee Chairman John L. Sampson, D-Brooklyn, said from the Senate floor that senators expect the chief judge to follow through on his assurances that he will do all he can to expand diversity on state court benches and guarantee that defendants of all races are treated fairly in New York courts. "We don't want lip service as to inclusion, we want inclusion," Mr. Sampson said. "We want to be at the table." Senators Ruben Diaz Sr. and Pedro Espada Jr., both D-Bronx, said Senator Hiram Montserrate, D-Queens, abstained by leaving the floor of the Senate during the otherwise unanimous voice vote. Mr. Diaz also abstained from the 22-0 vote by which the Judiciary Committee approved the nomination. "I am abstaining from voting because we have a problem, and if I vote 'yes,' that makes me part of the problem," Mr. Diaz said during the committee hearing. "My conscience does not allow me to come here to vote 'yes.'" At the committee meeting, Chief Judge Lippman agreed with Senator Martin Dilan, D-Brooklyn, that while strides have been made with judicial diversity within New York City, gains have been slower upstate. "The court system and the political system could do better outside New York City," the soon-to-be-chief judge said.

'Record of Leadership'

In his remarks to the committee, Chief Judge Lippman boasted of the changes made in the court system between 1996 and 2007, when he was chief administrative judge to then-Chief Judge Kaye. He cited the development of specialty courts, the elimination of most exemptions to jury duty and the way the courts continued to operate in the wake of the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, as among his proudest accomplishments. "I think I know how to inspire and motivate people," he said. "I think I have a record of leadership and qualification. I know what it is to work in a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job. I've been doing it for the last 20 years." Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Associate Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick listen to testimony during the confirmation hearing yesterday. Judge Jones, Court of Appeals Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick and Second Department Presiding Justice A. Gail Prudenti all spoke to the committee in support of Chief Judge Lippman's confirmation. "There is no one person in the court system today that deserves this more than Jonathan Lippman, who has labored in the judicial vineyards for so many years," Judge Ciparick said. Judge Ciparick applied for the chief judge's position, but did not make the commission's final list to the governor. "I would be dishonest if I didn't say to you that I would have loved to have been the subject of today's proceedings," Judge Ciparick said. "I would have made a good chief judge, but Jonathan Lippman will be a great chief judge." Judge Ciparick declined under questioning from Mr. Diaz to "second-guess" the nomination commission's decision to leave her name off the list of finalists. But she did respond to Mr. Diaz's question about whether she was qualified for the job by saying, "Yes, I am very qualified."

Judge Jones did not allude to his own candidacy for chief judge, but said that Chief Judge Lippman's experience as chief state administrative judge would be especially valuable in keeping the courts operating during the current economic times. "I expect that his years of experience, which he'll be bringing to this process, will be of great significance in maintaining our economically independent judiciary," Judge Jones said. Judge Jones told senators that he was grateful that then-Chief Administrative Judge Lippman appointed Judge Jones chief administrative judge for Brooklyn Supreme Court in 2005. In 2007, Judge Jones said it was Judge Lippman who solicited Judge Jones to apply for the opening on the Court of Appeals that Judge Jones eventually received from then-Governor Eliot Spitzer. State Bar Association President Bernice K. Leber told the committee that Judge Lippman, with his "warm and engaging" manner, is a consummate consensus builder. She said he made significant strides while presiding justice of the First Department in reducing backlogs and the numbers of dissenting opinions by that court's panels. A critic of the nomination commission, attorney Ravi Batra, told the committee that Chief Judge Lippman's credentials for his new job are "indisputable," despite the process that brought his name before the Senate for confirmation.

Mr. Batra urged the committee to make several changes in commission procedures, including making public the votes of all members on Court candidates and expanding both the size of the commission and of the lists of candidates it sends to governors. Elena Ruth Sassower of the Center for Judicial Accountability, a critic of the judiciary who has appeared at prior Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings, contended that Justice Lippman's nomination was a nullity because the commission's processes are allegedly unconstitutional. She contended that the information the commission made public about the candidates it nominated also did not meet its statutory obligations. Chief Judge Lippman, a 63-year-old Democrat, grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He graduated from New York University School of Law in 1968 and immediately went to work for the court. He was selected as presiding justice of the First Department in 2007 by Mr. Spitzer.

Chief Judge Lippman's confirmation gives male judges a 4-3 majority over women on the Court. The female members had been in the majority for the first time in the history of the Court between January 2003 and December 2008, when Judge Kaye stepped down. Barring resignation or illness, the new chief judge's term will run through Dec. 31, 2015, the year in which he will reach the Court's mandatory retirement age of 70. Chief Judge Lippman listed total assets for him and his wife Amy of $1.4 million in a financial disclosure form Mr. Paterson's office made public under the Commission on Judicial Nomination's rules. The judge estimated that his home in Rye Brook is worth $1 million and he also listed about $200,000 in investments in stocks. Chief Judge Lippman said yesterday he and his wife plan to maintain their Manhattan apartment as well as their Westchester County home as he takes over as chief judge. Justice Lippman needed to establish a residence in the First Department in order to become presiding justice.


Anonymous said...

Lippman was Chief Administrative Judge from interesting, because as a female long time , civil service tested employee, I received massive and intense discrimination from OCA from 1990-2005(when OCA fired me for all my attempts to address the above behavior) upstate NY ...because and only recognized... after I reported Judge A.P. Lorusso for 19 months of constant sexual abuse.

This now ex-judge was just someone I worked for as a court clerk and never ever did I display anything other than that!

As Lippman was an administrator within OCA during 10 yrs of this behavior by OCA..he became well aware of my very publicized CJC and initial Federal Court cases. He knew..Kaye knew..Trificanti..Plumadore...Lauren Desole..Alice Chapman..Judy Ratner..John Sulllivan...Elizabeth Condreva..Benefit boy Bill..etc....all from NYC and all participants in covering up the retaliation consequences of such a negative me!

As Lippman sucks in NY citizens with talk of diversity, I see that he carefully avoids the addition of the real problems OCA has with actually accepting diversity...the inclusion of it's brothers and sisters...DISCRIMINATION, ANTI- BIAS AND RETALIATION.

OCA is a defendent in a second Federal lawsuit to this day, filed by me...alleging retaliation, discrimination, slander, defamation and be brief. So as Lippman knows the status of this case... and the amazing admissions by his own employee, represented by their own atty..the state atty general.. that the retaliation actually took place, it lasted many years, OCA altered the real transcript to obtain a termination, and the brutality of the retaliatory activity!

It became incredibly impossible, at least for all who are aware of this case... for Lippman this week to state that he could ever promote or be permitted to direct any reform towards actual diversity or OCA's committed adherence to the Civil Right's act of 1964!

What I want the NYLJ and Lippman and of course OCA to know.... is that Lippmann stood by and back...actionless and gutless... when the exidence proved and the conspiracy was hatched, that OCA was conspiring to retaliate against me with horrific actions that would ruin and destroy my life, that of my family and friends and forever tarnish my lifelong personal and professional reputations and any financial success I attained over several years.

Lippman was every bit a part of this discriminatory travesty and therefore he is rendered unbelievable and impotent, to bring diversity or any civil rights guaranted by the constitution... passed into law so very far back in the early 1960's.... and falsely being guaranted by him... for our judiciary in 2009 and on?!

Lippman is a fraud and a joke just like his employer OCA... and his tenure as Chief Judge will be a devastation for all of NY STATE!


Anonymous said...

That is quite a post in the above. "Diversity" is that to the exclusion of competence? Is the Chief Judge slot now the ownership of the 'jewish' population? Fine, as long as they have judges such as Breitel and Fuld. Who and what are these bozos?

I thought being Chief judge had more to do with the ability to rule on the law; not run the administrative end of it.

Lippman worked hard and deserved it ! he was given a job because he was probably too lazy to find one for himself.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Shashhenko mention that Jonathan Lippman's wife Amy Fiedler Lippman pulls in over $110,000.00 in salary from her job with OCA in the Westchester court system? Perhaps the public would be interested in that fact.

Other Lippman names, but I can't say for sure if there is any relation, that should be researched include:

Barry M. Lippman
Harvey Lippman
Jay M. Lippman
Lippman at JP Morgan Chase
Lippman at Richardson & Associates
Lippman at Krasnow & Kelton
Lindsay E. Lippman
Melvin M. Lippman
Michael M. Lippman
Michael R. Lippman
Lippman at Tuchman
Robert Lippman
Robert A. Lippman
Lippman at Lippman O'Connor
Russell L Lippman
William Jay Lippman

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