Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Flacks Report [28 Jan 09]


In 2009, there is only one “County-wide” vacancy for State Supreme Court Justice as John Stackhouse retires, reaching the constitutional age limit. Justice Stackhouse intends to retire early, in April or shortly thereafter, this year. This would provide the Governor an opportunity to name a vacancy replacement, and if named and confirmed by the State Senate before June 1st, the designee would qualify as an incumbent under our Party’s “Crane rule.” This may give County Leader Farrell a chance to name his choice.

In the Civil Court, Cynthia Kern (3rd Dist.), Analisa Torres (6th Dist.), and Walter Tolub (9th Dist.) are up for re-election. Tolub is leaving the bench, and will not run again. Tolub, a long-time Liberal Party member, changed his enrollment to Democrat in 2004. Currently there are three “open” N.Y.C. Civil Court seats: two In the 9th Civil Court District, considered the Lexington Democratic Club's bailiwick, [14th to 96th Sts.; 7th Ave. to Lex.], Judith Gische’s seat (she was elected to the State Supreme Court trial bench) and Walter Tolub’s seat; and in the 3rd District [14th to 65th Sts.; 7th Ave. to the Hudson] as Marilyn Shafer reaches the constitutional age limit.

Surrogate-elect Nora Anderson is suspended, with pay, from the N.Y. County Surrogate position until the pending charges on campaign finance (brought by the D.A.) are resolved one way or another. The order, issued by the Court of Appeals on 29 December 2008, became effective January 1st of this year. Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau has appointed Supreme Court Justice Troy Webber, now sitting in Bronx Criminal Term (and all her judge experience has been in criminal court), to fill the job temporarily. Webber has assured Pfau that if Anderson were eventually removed, she (Webber) will not run for the post. If, however, Anderson is acquitted, that, as Kipling would say, is another story. Webber was elected in New York County to Supreme in 2002, and many had said that her only support was Denny Farrell.

In another development, the Governor has appointed Jonathan Lippman---Judith Kaye’s protégé---to be the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, replacing Kaye, who retired. This now creates two vacancies in the Appellate Division’s First Dept.: a new P.J. to replace Lippman and the vacancy created by Milton Williams’s retirement. If the new Presiding Justice is filled from among those on the A.D. bench, then there will still be two vacancies.


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