For Judgeships in New York City
Published: August 22, 2008
Races for judgeships rarely get the full attention they deserve. But New York City’s courts need the most dedicated and capable jurists. Luckily, there are a few good candidates — and not so luckily some real clunkers — running in New York City’s Sept. 9 primary. Here are our recommendations in three of those matchups.
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SURROGATE’S COURT, MANHATTAN This obscure but unusually powerful court oversees wills, estates and adoptions — and is badly in need of change. The retirement of Renee Roth after 25 years as one of the borough’s two Surrogate’s Court judges is an opportunity to improve the court’s reputation. Ms. Roth will leave behind a legacy of unconscionable delays in deciding cases, imperious behavior and a tendency to use her office to reward cronies and further her personal interests.
Voters need to decide which of the three candidates vying to succeed her — Milton Tingling, John Reddy Jr. and Nora Anderson — has the independence and know-how to work effectively with Manhattan’s second, reform-minded Surrogate’s Court judge, Kristin Booth Glen, to transform the court.
Mr. Tingling, an affable but undistinguished state Supreme Court justice, seems least up to the task. Mr. Reddy, Ms. Roth’s handpicked counsel to the office charged with handling estates of those who die without wills, has an appealing manner and is plainly capable. But his ties to Ms. Roth and tolerance for the old-style, back-scratching culture make us doubt he would be an aggressive agent of change.
Our endorsement goes to Nora Anderson, an experienced trust and estates lawyer and former chief clerk in the Surrogate’s Court. Her decision to accept a large campaign loan from a mentor — a prominent trust and estates attorney — gives us pause. But we take seriously her pledge that he will not appear before her and believe, over all, that she offers the best hope of positive reform.
CIVIL COURT, MANHATTAN In this race for a countywide seat, we favor Nancy Bannon over Michael Katz. Both currently serve as law clerks in State Supreme Court. Both are able and committed to making the legal system more accessible for less-wealthy litigants. But Ms. Bannon’s thoughtful manner and depth of legal experience give her the edge.
CIVIL COURT, THE BRONX The standout in this race is Elizabeth Taylor, a well-regarded law clerk to a state Supreme Court justice and founder of the Thurgood Marshall Junior Mock Trial Program, which introduces city high school students to legal advocacy.
She is a much stronger candidate than her competitors: Maria Matos, another law clerk; and Verena Powell, a former assistant district attorney now in private practice. We enthusiastically endorse Ms. Taylor.