Sunday, December 7, 2008

Not so fast, Nora

Daily News Editorial, December 7, 2008

It was a busy week for Nora Anderson, the Manhattan surrogate judge-elect who ran roughshod over laws and rules to claim a prize perch in the Surrogate's Court, which awards millions in legal fees to a select club of lawyers.

The week began with Anderson filing her final campaign accounting. The report shows that in the weeks since September's Democratic primary, in which Anderson grossly outspent two opponents - thanks largely to an illegal $202,000 contribution - she raised another $29,260.

Not that she needed the cash - she ran unopposed in November. But she put almost every cent ($28,378) in her pocket, leaving $7.01 in the kitty.

In theory, Anderson was repaying some of the $368,185 she loaned her campaign. In reality, she was skirting an ethics rule that bars successful judicial candidates from repaying themselves with campaign funds.

The Board of Elections certified Anderson's uncontested victory Tuesday, and she lost no time taking the oath of office Wednesday, solemnly swearing to support the Constitution and faithfully discharge the duties of the office of judge. Irony indeed.

Although the Jan. 1 start of her term is only 26 days away, Anderson might want to hold off on tailoring those black judicial robes and trying out the gavel.

Also last week, it turns out, a Manhattan grand jury investigating her campaign's slippery practices was hearing witnesses. And still waiting in the wings is the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, whose rules she has so brazenly flouted.

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