State of New York Court of Appeals
|State of New York Court of Appeals|
|Location:||Albany, New York|
|Method:||Comm. select., Gov. appt.|
The New York Court of Appeals is New York's highest appellate court, created in 1847, replacing the Court for the Trial of Impeachments and the Correction of Errors. Its 1842 neoclassical courthouse is located in Albany, New York.
|Judge Susan Read||2003-2017||Gov. George Pataki|
|Judge Eugene Pigott||2006-2020||Gov. George Pataki||Democratic|
|Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman||2009-2023||Gov. David Paterson|
|Judge Leslie Stein||2/9/2015-2029||Gov. Andrew Cuomo|
|Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam||2013-2027||Gov. Andrew Cuomo|
|Judge Eugene Fahey||2015-2029||Gov. Andrew Cuomo|
|Judge Jenny Rivera||2013-2030||Gov. Andrew Cuomo|
On January 13, 2009, Governor David Paterson appointed Judge Jonathan Lippman to be chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals. This was to replace Judge Judith Kaye. Lippman was formerly a judge on the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division.
According to the New York Constitution, the jurisdiction of the court is limited to the "review of questions of law except where the judgment is of death."
The New York Court of Appeals consists of seven judges: one chief judge and six associate judges. Previously, judges were elected to the seat on the bench. Judges are now appointed by the governor to 14-year terms.
To be considered a qualified candidate to the New York Court of Appeals, a person must have been admitted to practice law for at least five years. This is described in the New York Constitution, Article Six, Section 20, which can be found here.
Judge allowance increase
In October 2009, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced via a webcast available only to the judiciary that he was authorizing a doubling of the annual amount paid to judges for expenses - from $5,000 to $10,000. In 2008, the New York Office of Court Administration paid out approximately $6 million to judges receiving the $5,000 "allowance." This increase took the total expense stipend outlay to roughly $12 million per year. The Office of Court Administration's total annual budget in 2008 was $2.27 billion.
Lippman cited the lack of pay raises for judges in the last ten years as a reason for why the increase was needed. Three suits were brought before the Court of Appeals regarding the matter of judicial pay in New York. Two of the suits were brought by individual judges and one was brought by the court system. Lippman recused himself from hearing the cases.
The court's most famous judge was Benjamin Cardozo (who was later appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States). Cardozo authored many landmark cases during his tenure, including Palsgraf v. Long Island Rail, MacPherson v. Buick and Wood v. Lucy. During the late 20th century, the most famous judge was Chief Judge Sol Wachtler, who was elected to the court in 1972 and appointed chief judge in 1985. He was renowned for the fine quality of his legal opinions. Wachtler's career ended disastrously in November 1992, when the FBI arrested him for stalking a wealthy woman with whom he had previously been having an affair.
New York is notable for being one of only two states to declare the death penalty statute unconstitutional, which the State of New York Court of Appeals did in the case of People v. LaValle in June 2004.
In July 2006, the court, applying rational-basis scrutiny, held 4-2 (Judge Albert M. Rosenblatt recused) that the New York Constitution does not compel recognition of same-sex marriage. Judge Robert S. Smith, writing for the three-judge plurality, stated that "[w]hether such marriages should be recognized is a question to be addressed by the Legislature." Judge Victoria Graffeo concurred. Chief Judge Judith Kaye, in a dissent signed onto by Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, criticized the majority opinion. Arguing that homosexuals are a "suspect class" and that the law infringes "the fundamental right to marry," Kaye stated the law warranted "heightened or strict scrutiny" rather than the rational-basis analysis applied by the majority.
In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of New York was given a campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, New York received a score of -0.24. Based on the justices selected, New York was the 18th most liberal court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.
In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. New York earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.
History of the court
- News: NY Chief Judge to give official "State of the Courts" address, February 14, 2012
- Courts in New York
- New York counties
- Judicial selection in New York
- New York Courts.gov, "New York State Court of Appeals"
- New York Courts.gov, "New York State Unified Court System"
- New York Courts.gov, "New York Official Reports Site"
- New York Courts.gov, "New York Official Reports for the Court of Appeals"
- New York Courts.gov, "New York Court of Appeals Annual Report 2007"
- New York Courts.gov, "Court of Appeals State of New York," accessed January 15, 2015
- New York Courts.gov, "Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman," accessed January 15, 2015
- Justia US Law, "2006 New York Code - Court of appeals; jurisdiction," accessed January 15, 2015
- Justia US Law, "2006 New York Code - Judicial office, qualifications and restrictions," accessed January 15, 2015
- New York Court of Appeals, "Annual Reports," accessed January 15, 2015
- New York Law Journal, "Citing Lack of Raise, Lippman Boosts Judge Allowance to $10,000," October 15, 2009
- Encyclopædia Britannica, "Benjamin Nathan Cardozo," accessed January 15, 2015
- The New York Times, "Judge and Heiress: The Rise and Fall of a Private Affair," November 15, 1992
- Cornell University Law School, "The People v. Stephen LaValle," June 24, 2004
- Columbia Law School, "Hernandez v. Robles," July 6, 2006
- Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
- Center for Public Integrity, "State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information," December 5, 2013
|Former||Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick • Judith Kaye • Victoria Graffeo • Robert S. Smith • Theodore Jones • Richard Wesley • Rufus Wheeler Peckham •|