New York State Court System is Corrupt, and Thomas Cahill is Ousted
The most corrupt court system in the United States tells Tom Cahill, Chief Counsel ofthe First Department Attorney Discipline Committee, along with his First Deputy Counsel Sherry Cohen, "it's over", in a back-room deal. Proskauer Rose, the law firm cited in the racketeering by Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and Guide One Insurance Company, is implicated in the corruption scheme of Cahill et al.
Supreme Court NY Overhaul Begins, Attorney Disciplinary Chief Counsel Thomas Cahill First to Go @ NY First Dept Disciplinary
Iviewit - Patentgate
Subject: Court Overhaul Begins Attorney Disciplinary Chief Counsel Cahill First to Go NY First Dept Disciplinary...
Dear House and Senate Members - Patentgate has arrived starting in NY, read the two articles below this message ~ The Chief Counsel of the Supreme Court of NY Disciplinary, Thomas Cahill, who was key in NY to blocking the Iviewit complaints against Proskauer Rose and led to Steven C Krane (former NYSBA President & Proskauer IP partner), Kenneth Rubenstein (of MPEGLA LLC & Proskauer IP Partner) and Raymond Joao (patent attorney who put 90 patents or so of Iviewit's in his own name) investigations. Investigation that were ordered by the Supreme Court of NY First Department for conflict of interest, the appearance of impropriety and violations of Supreme Court public offices in New York. Those investigations were derailed and again conflicts were discovered, but it now appears that Thomas Cahill, was involved in a sex scandal that led to his resignation at the First Dept as printed in the New York Law Journal July 23, 2007 edition and has led to uncovering that complaints had been buried by Cahill and further he is implicated in stealing funds from the 911 Red Cross, I mean this is the head of discipline in NY, why not hire a Gotti instead. The article below refereneces and highlights the IVIEWIT intellectual property case and goes in-depth into it. The tip of Patentgate coming soon to a respectable news outlet if they exist any longer, read the comments at the bottom.
Expose Corrupt Courts
Martin Luther King said: "Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere"
End Corruption in the Courts!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Court Overhaul Begins: Attorney Disciplinary Chief Counsel Cahill First to Go...
Thomas J. Cahill, Chief Counsel of the First Department Attorney Disciplinary Committee, was summoned to a meeting with New York State Office of Court Administration officials on Tuesday, July 17, 2007. He was told to bring along his First Deputy Chief Counsel, Sherry K. Cohen, sources say.
The two top lawyers at the State office charged with overseeing attorney ethics in the Bronx and Manhattan sat, uncomfortably, through most of the day at various high-level conferences. In the end, it was made clear that immediate changes were being made at their Departmental Disciplinary Committee. Changes that didn't necessarily include them.
Two days later, on Thursday, July 19th, Mr. Cahill called a staff meeting where he said that he had "good news." He first announced that he had a new grandchild, and then added that he had decided to resign. He was reportedly delighted to be "… one of the few who is leaving under his own steam." Sources say he indicated that he was hoping to stay on through the end of August but was awaiting 1st Department Presiding Justice Jonathan Lippman's decision on the actual date of his final day.
On Friday, Mr. Cahill began referring to his departure as "retirement."
Tom Cahill's departure comes shortly after reporters began asking questions about an alleged cover up concerning the forced resignation of a young employee at the First Department Committee on Character and Fitness (CCF). That incident reportedly involved Mr. Cahill and Ms. Cohen at the Disciplinary Committee, and the CCF's boss Sarah Josephine Hamilton and Catherine O'Hagan Wolfe, then state Appellate Division Chief Clerk, and who is now the Chief Clerk for the federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
One insider says that the complaints against Cahill and Cohen had "…become overwhelmingly voluminous, and simply too much to continue ignoring..." The pair had been accused of selectively implementing the politically fueled and widespread practice of indefinitely delaying or white-washing certain disciplinary investigations. "Cahill and Cohen made up their own rules," according to the insider.
One such complaint involved Thomas Cahill and the Proskauer Rose law firm, and which has been "pending" since February of 2003. The Cahill Proskauer Complaint remains a troubling thorn at the highest levels of the New York State Office of Court Administration, and one which is a high priority for the new State Chief Administrative Judge, the Honorable Ann T. Pfau.
The Cahill Proskauer issue also became a hot topic in Washington, D.C. in early 2007 at the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. Department of Commerce (The United States Patent and Trademark Office). And it has specifically caught the attention of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and U.S. House Representatives John D. Dingell and Nita Lowey.
The Cahill Proskauer Scandal involves many allegations: the alleged theft by Proskauer of numerous U.S. Patents from their own client; claimed losses of 17 billion dollars; and the March, 2005 bombing in Boynton Beach, Florida of the inventor-client-complainant's family mini-van.
It is alleged that Mr. Cahill masterminded the scheme to indefinitely delay complaints against Proskauer Rose, himself, and former New York State Bar Association President and Proskauer partner Steven C. Krane, Proskauer Partner Kenneth Rubenstein, chief counsel for MPEGLA, and Raymond Joao of Yonkers. It is also alleged that attorney Steven C. Krane initially interceded, with Mr. Cahill's knowledge and consent, in handling disciplinary complaints involving himself at the same time he was associated with the 1st Department in Manhattan.
Attorney Krane's conflicts were exposed when officials from the "Iviewit" company contacted Katherine O'Hagan Wolfe, who contradicted Cahill's statements and Krane's written denial of his 1st Dept roles. Ms. O'Hagan Wolfe advised that she was, in fact, on a Committee at the 1st Dept with both Cahill and Krane and that they even had a meeting that same night.
The various Cahill Proskauer issues bounced around under the public radar screen at the Court of Appeals in Albany and were ultimately transferred from the 1st Department to the 2nd Department in Brooklyn. This was done after 5 justices of the 1st Dept ruled unanimously to investigate Krane, Rubenstein and Joao for conflict of interest and the appearance of impropriety after their review of the 1st Department complaint.
The Cahill inquiry is apparently "still pending" under attorney Martin R. Gold who, insiders say, was directed to "sit on it…forever."
Earlier this year, FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. assigned additional agents to the Public Integrity/Corruption squad at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan, and where agents have been actively conducting interviews.
The New York Law Journal will formally announce Mr. Cahill's departure next week.
For more information regarding the Cahill Proskauer story, see: http://www.iviewit.tv
Copyright (c) 2007 Frank Brady
Posted by Corrupt Courts Administrator at 11:20 AM
I've never met Mr. Cahill, but believe it's time for him to permanently return to Greenwich, CT ...maybe do some babysitting....
I just checked out http://www.iviewit.tv
Wow. The guy's family car was blown up!
Is this how we discourage complaints against lawyers in New York?
Mother of God ! What the hell is going on ?!?!
July 21, 2007 1:04 PM
I hope Cahill surrenders his New York law license before his butt gets booted out the door of 61 Broadway.
Otherwise, there is sure to be a flood of complaints against HIM, resulting in his own license revocation !
I can't believe this story. WHY HASN"T THIS BEEN IN THE NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL OR THE NEW YORK TIMES !!!!!??????!!!!! THIS IS CRIMINAL !!
July 21, 2007 1:17 PM
deeply saddened said...
This is HUGE.What a bunch of criminals--And I am an attorney !
July 21, 2007 3:25 PM
It's nice to know our court system has had a bunch of two-bit thugs running the show.
July 21, 2007 8:44 PM
Went to - www.iviewit.tv - and boy what a shock, no one would believe this. These people and the fancy law firms (including Judith Kaye's husband) are a bunch of gangsters. Go look for yourself.
July 21, 2007 9:19 PM
P. Stephen Lamont said...
By way of introduction, I am P. Stephen Lamont, the former CEO (outside counsel advised all Iviewit executives to resign their posts and work along side Iviewit rather than within Iviewit) of Iviewit Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries, affiliates and related parties (collectively "Iviewit"), with more than a fifteen year track record as a multimedia technology and consumer electronics executive and holder of a J.D. in Intellectual Property Law, an M.B.A in Finance, and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, and I write in reply to the Technicrati blog and in support of Eliot I. Bernstein, the founder of Iviewit and the principal inventor of the technologies in question, and my fellow shareholders.
Moreover, and while grant it I was not a participant during the alleged burying and purported theft of the technologies, I found myself leading a company in the midst of a cover up of the aforementioned depictions of frauds, deceits, and misrepresentations that run so wide and so deep that it tears at the very fabric of what has become to be know as free commerce in this country, and, in the fact that it pertains to inventors rights, tears at the very fabric of the Constitution of the United States.
Furthermore, early in my tenure, rumors began swirling around the company with finger pointing and all from Florida to Los Angeles wherein it catches the jet stream and arrived very soon in New York of alleged breaches of confidentiality pertaining to Iviewit technology, transfers of trade secrets, and, even in certain circumstances, the knowing and willful invention fraud by the outright switching of signature pages of patent filings by early patent counsels. Additionally, during my tenure, I was in possession of an executed patent application pertaining to Iviewit's core imaging technology with the inventors of Bernstein and Shirajee, when, out of thin air, and just prior to filing, such patent application witnesses the addition of a one Brian G. Utley ('Utley') as an inventor, and an individual who could not have been farther from the heat of the inventive stage of the imaging technology.
Still further, and this is where I may depart from Mr. Bernstein and the Iviewit oustide advisers (this is a democracy after all), I submit that at the first disclosures of the inventions, patent counsel - Dr. Kenneth Rubenstein a partner of Proskauer Rose LLP and Counsel to the multimedia patent pools sponsored by MPEG LA LLC, who had spent half a lifetime procuring technologies for the transmission of full screen, full frame rate video across a variety of transmission networks, and who during the Iviewit disclosures may have thought to himself "[I] missed that," and "[I] never thought of that," and "[This] changes everything," or thoughts to those effects, were so fearful that Iviewit would partner with other proprietary technologies across the video value chain and wipe the carefully crafted patent pools off the face of the map, therefore, the Iviewit inventions HAD to be buried to preserve those pools.
That was the first step, with the second step, through the direct and indirect introductions of Iviewit, with executed NDA's, to some five hundred potential licensees by colleagues of patent counsel, being the proliferation of Iviewit disclosures across a wide array of potential licensees and competitors.
Following along, we arrive at the point in the past when the Iviewit inventions had been buried and that everyone had begun to use it, when past management in the company and new patent counsel may have thought "Hey, okay, great, but now what's in it for us," that proceeded to a final step, and in addition to the intentional change of inventors with the inclusion of Utley, the corporate shell game that involved multiple, unauthorized, similarly named corporate formations and unauthorized stock swaps and unauthorized asset transfers that resulted in the core patent applications assigned to an entity that may have only one shareholder, the limited liability partnership of the alleged perpetrating patent counsel Proskauer Rose LLP, perhaps, with a view towards resurrecting the backbone technologies at some future point.
Lastly, does it seem too far fetched when you include house break-ins, death threats, car bombings, and wrongful evictions? I further submit that I had been a victim as well where every file on my former Iviewit machines were changed from the original date of creation to on or about August 25, 2003, a time in which I was on a business trip in Florida to meet with the Boca Raton Police Department. Still too unbelievable? Then recall the browser wars, particularly the Internet Explorer/Microsoft/Spyglass/University of Illinois at Urbana battle, a situation I was very close to during my tenure at Thomson Multimedia S.A. (in IE click "Help" then "About IE" and read all about it), and you may agree that, as I had many times termed it, "invention stealing is the world?s second oldest profession," only this time, as Jack Nicholson has termed it, "[They] f---ed with the wrong marines." THIS TRULY IS THE GREATEST PATENT STORY EVER TOLD!
P. Stephen Lamont
further information at:
July 21, 2007 10:35 PM
a retired atty said...
Judge Judy aka Ma Barker has exceeded my expectations, I never thought this old yente was so Machiavellian. Her gonif husband at Porkauer (Proskauer) Rose LLP, YES! Now they are real proctologists.
July 21, 2007 11:05 PM
Eliot I Bernstein said...
I knew there was law in a lawless Administration, it is time for all good and decent lawyers to take back their honor and bring these criminals down, all the way to the top. At the top you will find the man behind the scene who stole my patents with Proskauer Rose to be Michael Grebe formerly of Foley and Lardner (also Iviewit former thug counsel) and now with the far left Nazi group The Bradley Foundation. These two firms need to be abolished from earth and their assets in a RICO should go to the Iviewit shareholders who have been waiting patiently while they seized the government to block due process against themselves, all the way to the Whitehouse. It was Grebe who may have set those Republican National Committee servers to be a back channel to Whitehouse for criminal activities in the overthrow of the government through election fraud, etc. I wonder how many of those emails say Iviewit. Once the fox had stolen the elections, the country has gone to hell in a bucket and no one knows why, without knowing the whole Iviewit story. Iviewit was the portal, the reason for all roads of corruption that begin and end with the understanding of just what these criminals cloaked as lawyers, judges and investigators are all about. Cahill was only one of many in the denial of due process, a denial that can only come top down, Cahill was only a pawn to Judge Judy Kaye and her suddenly inventive IP partner husband Stephen Kaye.
It will be on all good and decent lawyers to take out the corruption that has siezed America, if you need any help feel free to call me, as I told Porksour Rose in my deposition (on the Iviewit site), I fear no evil!!!!
for more info @
Thanks to this site for having the chutzpah to take a stance against the machine.
July 21, 2007 11:54 PM
I hope Sherry Cohen is also getting canned. Oops, "resigning" Oops, "retiring"
No mention of her. Why?
Drinking buddies Cahill and Cohen wouldn't know an ethical act if it bit them in the ass.
July 22, 2007 10:16 AM
It's probably time to replace Judith Kaye, governor. Why do we have to wait? We have endured the Tammany Kaye regime long enough
July 22, 2007 10:29 AM
i'm not a big fan of all this dirty laundry out in the public, but i've looked over the iviewit.tv material and i'm saddened over it. the truth is Proskauer has gotten away with murder for many years simply because one of their partners was married to the state's chief judge. and this is well known throughout the legal community except, i suspect, by Judge Judith Kaye. I know of other horrible acts by Proskauer, and i can say Mr. Kaye would never have participated in such outrageous acts, nor condoned them. To preserve Mr. Kaye's good name I suggest that the Proskauer firm be shut down- immediatley.
July 22, 2007 4:47 PM
you stupid people. you don't realize that there are two ways to handle things at the DDC under Cahill: Due Process or Do-Do Cahill Manipulation. (I'll give you a hint: one process isn't used by Cahill)
July 22, 2007 6:00 PM
i heard said...
I heard that the highest levels at OCA are considering a massive restructuring of the attorney and judicial complaint processes. everyone believes that the current system of local committees hearing complaints about their attorney friends doesn't work. and the commission on judicial conduct may also get some enhancements. look for a fairer statewide complaint review process soon.
July 22, 2007 6:25 PM
How many other things did Tom Cahill and his chums fix and how much were they paid?
July 23, 2007 9:38 AM
and guest who gets to pick the replacement for the corrupt Thomas Cahill? Why of course its the ethically challenged Jonathan Lippman now head of the 1st Dept. - how nice, you can be sure it will be more of the same brought to you/I by the Mafia in black robes
July 23, 2007 10:30 AM
a fly on the wall said...
remember the boy who didn't have enough fingers to plug up all the holes in the dike and so the dike broke, Tom Cahill is one example of what's happen with the NYS courts. There are many more!
July 23, 2007 5:50 PM
ny atty said...
The Law Journal today had a bit on Tom's retiring, there has to be more to this, I've heard many things but the blog gives things I've never heard, It's very sad that his end would come this way.
July 23, 2007 11:28 PM
This whole thing scares me
July 24, 2007 7:57 AM
All these bums belong in JAIL!
July 24, 2007 8:58 AM
They tried to kill this guy Bernstein by blowing up his car! These lawyers are real gangsters! And being dirtbags they payoff their friends in the Courts so they go free!
July 24, 2007 10:27 AM
this whole matter is scurrilous
July 24, 2007 6:50 PM
heard on the grape vine said...
This is bigger then Enron. Patent theft! They tried to kill one guy, they blew-up his car. Proskauer Rose et al. are a bunch of Nazis.
July 24, 2007 11:06 PM
And what do the Courts, FBI etc. do about all this NOTHING!
July 25, 2007 9:16 AM
It has been common knowledge for quite some time that one phone call by the right person to Tom Cahill would effectively kill any disciplinary action.
July 25, 2007 11:58 AM
How much did you sell your soul for, Mr. Cahill?
July 25, 2007 12:59 PM
Clearly, the problems in the New York Courts are not limited to Brooklyn. (No surprise here, huh?)
Obviously, there are serious issues of public corruption in the SDNY.
Good bye to you Mr. Cahill.... you corrupt, old hack, greedy, bastard.
July 25, 2007 5:01 PM
a bar fly said...
Cahill & Cohen, C&C better known as Canadian Club because they drank together and did their dirty deals together
July 25, 2007 8:46 PM
Proskauer Rose one of the whores of Babylonia along with the other whoremongers (lawyers) and the occupants of the Whore(court)Houses are out of control. Where is the FBI when you need them, out to lunch?
July 25, 2007 9:43 PM
And a SEX SCANDAL to boot! Old Tom Cahill was a busy guy! What is he doing in retirement for fun? Kicking old ladies and small dogs?
July 25, 2007 11:05 PM
I known one of the people (an attorney) that Thomas Cahill destroyed strictly for political purposes (and he was well compensated for his efforts as always). A good human being was ravaged. What goes around, comes around and its not over, Thomas!
July 26, 2007 4:51 AM
So the Courts are corrupt and the Judges are Whores, so what can we do about it, people want to know?
July 26, 2007 6:33 AM
Tom Cahill are you still having liquid breakfasts?
July 26, 2007 10:03 AM
Tommy enjoy your retirement while you can before the Feds get to you. Or then again you never know they may grab you as you walk out the door on your last day. Just something to think about.
July 26, 2007 11:44 AM
be advised that Thomas Cahill had prior history before he landed his current position and he was dirty them too
July 27, 2007 12:14 PM
Eliot Bernstein Iviewit Patentgate said...
For the greatest denial of due process starting in NY and moving all the way to the DOJ OIG and DOJ OPR for investigation, also at the House and Senate Judiciary Committees
By unanimous vote First Department - Order for Formal Investigation & Disposition of Conflicts and Appearance of Impropriety - Unpublished Orders M3198 - Steven C. Krane (former NYSBA President) / M2820 Kenneth Rubenstein and M3212 Raymond A. Joao. Complaint against Steven C. Krane, Proskauer & Meltzer Lippe Goldstein Wolfe and Schlisshel.
Complaint No. 2004.1883 Steven C. Krane, Esq. - Proskauer Rose LLP Intellectual Property Partner - Former President NYSBA & Officer First Dept. Complaint against Steven C. Krane, Proskauer & Meltzer Lippe Goldstein Wolfe and Schlisshel.
Case No. T-1689-04 Steven C. Krane, Esq. / Complaint against Kenneth Rubenstein, Proskauer & Meltzer Lippe Goldstein Wolfe and Schlisshel. Case No. 2003.0531 Kenneth Rubenstein & Proskauer Rose LLP. / Kenneth Rubenstein, Proskauer & Meltzer Lippe Goldstein Wolfe and Schlisshel. Case No. T-1688-04 - Kenneth Rubenstein & Proskauer Rose LLP / Complaint against Raymond Joao, Proskauer & Meltzer Lippe Goldstein Wolfe and Schlisshel / Case No. 2003-0352 - Raymond Joao, Proskauer & MLGWS / Complaint against Raymond A. Joao, Proskauer & Meltzer Lippe Goldstein Wolfe and Schlisshel. Case No. T-1690-04 - Raymond Joao, Proskauer & MLGWS /
Complaint against Thomas Cahill, Chief Counsel First Department Departmental Disciplinary Special Inquiry No. 2004.1122 Martin Gold special investigator.
These are the case numbers from the Court Orders too the original complaints at the First Dept Disciplinary and then the case #'s for the Second Dept who was supposed to investigate although they never did as conflicts were discovered there at the 2nd Dept too. Second Dept refused to file complaints, or docket them against key members:
Complaint against Diana Maxfield Kearse, Chief Counsel, Second Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee CASE NO. Kearse refuses to docket her own complaint, Lawrence DiGiovanna refuses and complaint is filed against him.
Complaint against Lawrence DiGiovanna, Chairman, Second Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee Complaint refused formal docketing and disposition by Kearse and Prudenti
ok - links to help better understand
www.iviewit.tv you can see images of the car bombing attempt on inventor's life, all documents relating to these cases can be found on the bottom of the homepage.
That should give you background to the largest denial of due process ever in new york
July 28, 2007 11:59 AM
What's the latest on Cahill!????!!!
July 28, 2007 6:45 PM
Has jackass cahill been dragged out of 61 bway yet?
July 30, 2007 7:39 PM
After reading this story and the related one I'm astonished that this type of thing would go on. I'm sure it is all true because you can't make these things up. My faith and trust in the Judicial system certainly has been lowered considerably
July 31, 2007 8:59 AM
Bring in the brooms and mops. time to clean up the mess.
August 4, 2007 4:07 PM
Cahill has got a lot more dirt than has been revealed. At present he is destroying any evidence that he can get his hands on. Head up Feds.
August 4, 2007 9:43 PM
Everything you never wanted to know about picking judges for an important court you've never heard ofby Tom Robbins, The Village Voice, July 24th, 2007 3:11 PM
I was warned against writing this column.
"You might think twice about doing that judges story," were the exact, ominous words.
OK, the threat came from my editor, who added: "Nobody cares how judges get picked. Where is that S&M piece you promised?" I did not knuckle under. As you may know, this paper is currently owned and operated by out-of-towners and recent transplants, so I was able to convincingly argue that, aside from rent hikes and Alex Rodriguez, there is no subject New Yorkers get more passionate about than the selection of appellate judges. Please do not cross me up on this.
Here, then, is the unvarnished truth—which only the Voice will tell you—about how New York came to select a rookie judge with a powerful ally as the presiding justice for the busiest and most powerful appeals court in the state.
Already you're thinking, "Appellate court? Presiding justice? Alex Rodriguez?" Bear with me. Part of the problem here is the purposely obscure nomenclature employed by lawyers, who are the only ones who really do care about judges. They care so much that they see the judges' faces in their Grape-Nuts every morning. They address their cereal, practicing small, obsequious remarks like: "Heard Your Honor hit a par four last week. Nice."
Many people erroneously assume that the state's most important court is the Court of Appeals in Albany, which supposedly settles all the big cases. See? You're already the victim of legal obscurantism. Albany? Are you kidding? The state's most important court is right here where it belongs, in Manhattan, at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 25th Street, where is found the magnificent marble headquarters of the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department.
The few non-lawyers who stumble across this structure are immediately struck dumb by the big Greek columns and the statues of half-naked men and women on the roof. This is a building for judges and lawyers only; jurors are not allowed, not only because no jury trials are held here, but because they would befoul the building with dark splotches of chewing gum and half-completed Sudoku puzzles. Oh, yes, there is a also a cadre of heavily armed court officers who are charged with keeping jurors out and making sure there are parking spots for the 16 appellate judges who work here.
You are wondering: Why do they need to drive? What are they, firefighters? This is another sad example of reader ignorance. The former governor, George Pataki, a Republican from Putnam County (I can only tell you it is near the Taconic Parkway), recognized after taking office that New York City's appellate courts were severely segregated. Local judges, overwhelmingly Democrats, held most positions. To remedy this outrage, Pataki commenced a bold integration scheme in which he bussed in judges from upstate to sit on the city's appeals courts. Surprisingly, most of his choices were white Republicans like himself. Opponents of this measure complained (quietly, so as not to be seen as bigots) that the imports were generally of a lower IQ than the locals. Plus, they took up all the parking spots because, of course, they didn't really take a bus to work.
This was the situation that greeted newly elected governor Eliot Spitzer (a Democrat from Manhattan, though he also has a residence in Columbia County, apparently farther up the Taconic). It was day one and everything had to change, so he got right to work on the appellate courts, starting with the First Department in Manhattan, because it handles all the most important cases. Would you want some hick court in Elmira ruling on the likes of High Risk Opportunities Hub Fund Ltd. v. Credit Lyonnais? Of course not.
Spitzer's first task was to appoint a new presiding justice, an opportunity that made the governor's people ecstatic. This plum had fallen into their laps thanks to a display of stunning ingratitude by one of Pataki's own picks. Everyone knew that Pataki had intended, on his way out of office, to name his pal and former counsel, Justice James McGuire, to this top job. McGuire had been especially helpful to Pataki when a federal grand jury in Brooklyn began asking why his administration had granted parole to felons whose parents gave a lot of money to his campaign. McGuire did well: Only a couple of Koreans and some low-level parole aides were convicted.
If he'd been appointed, McGuire would have held this post until 2018, making him Pataki's proudest legacy. (OK, his only legacy.) Sadly, this plan fell apart when the then-presiding justice, one John Buckley, an import from Oneida County (no idea, look it up), refused to step down. Buckley was reluctant to do so because he would've had to go back to wherever Oneida County is. December 31, 2006, came and went. Buckley was still there. This gave Spitzer the right to choose the new presiding justice when Buckley turned 70, which he soon did.
(To quickly recap: The presiding justice runs a big building with Greek columns where many important legal cases are heard and where you, in all likelihood, will never enter.)
Because he wanted to do things properly, Spitzer appointed a special panel to advise him on whom to appoint. This is called "merit selection." It is preferable to elections, because voters are notoriously ignorant (see Bush, George W., Election of). Choosing a new P.J. (common vernacular for "presiding justice"—please memorize) is especially important because he also gets to pick the watchdogs who penalize wayward attorneys. Since Manhattan's hordes of attorneys all live in terror of being cited for wrongdoing, this causes the P.J. (see above) to be viewed as somewhere north of God. His jokes are the funniest ever heard, his wisdom unfathomable.
Unfortunately, Spitzer's panel didn't fully grasp the "merit" part. It selected five candidates as "highly qualified," yet somehow neglected to include two of the First Department's most distinguished members: Richard Andrias, a Vietnam vet with a Bronze Star who is considered such a stellar judicial performer that he has been nominated five times for the Court of Appeals, and David Saxe, another appellate Hall of Famer who is widely considered the best writer on the bench since the late William O. Douglas.
Cynics maintain that the absence of stars like Andrias and Saxe made it easier for the governor to select the judge he ultimately chose, Jonathan Lippman. An amiable insider, Lippman was for many years the court's able administrator and served as a loyal deputy to the state's top judicial officer, Chief Judge Judith Kaye of the Court of Appeals. As for actual judging, Lippman had a late start in the business: He never heard a case until 2004 and wasn't elected to the bench until 2005.
While this may seem an unlikely résumé for someone selected to head the state's busiest court, Lippman's many fans insist he is otherwise superb. The fact that he and his boss, Judge Kaye, have failed to get a raise for the state's judges for nine years should not be held against them, the fans say. And Judge Kaye's reluctance to go along with demands from scores of irate judges who want to sue the governor's ass to get that raise is also irrelevant.
Moreover, Lippman is so good that he is already being touted as a likely successor to Kaye when she has to step down late next year. Recommendations for that post will be made by another special gubernatorial panel.
That is how merit selection works. Who else are you going to trust to pick judges—editors?