Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New York Court of Appeals: The [NOT-SO-]Best of Judith Kaye (Part 1)

Two previous posts looked at the top ten opinions of Chief Judge Kaye--my own selections, not hers or anyone else's. (See New York Court of Appeals: The Best of Judith Kaye (Part 2), Oct. 2, 2008; (Part 1), Sept. 26, 2008.) Appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1983 and elevated to the center seat 10 years later, Kaye will be ending her tenure on the court at the end of this year. That's mandated by New York's moronic law that requires Court of Appeals judges to retire at the age of 70. It forces some of the court's best judges to retire while they're in their prime as jurists.

In any event, every "top ten" has a flip side "bottom ten." I came up with a "bottom eight"--actually, 5 opinions and 3 votes. If the top ten were the "Best of Kaye," let's just call these the "Not-So-Best" of Kaye. I know there's lots of adoring Kaye fans out there. I love her too. But, hey, even Holmes had a few dreadful opinions. Just remember his: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough," so go right ahead and sterilize them. (Buck v. Bell [1927].)

Now I don't think Kaye authored anything as awful as Buck v. Bell. But if some of what she's done is her best, some of what she's done is at least her "not-so-best." Without any further description or commentary at this time, here are my picks:

Majority opinions:
Lauer v. City of New York
People v. Tortorici (1999)
Johnson v. Pataki (1997)
People v. Page (1996)
People v. Wesley (1989)

Catholic Charities v. Serio (2006)
Horn v. New York Times (2003)
In Re Holtzman (1991)

Any/many of these ring a bell? The next post will elaborate on each of these selections.