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Pace Law Review

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The last few years have been particularly bad for government integrity in New York. Since 1985, New York City has been rocked by a series of highly publicized scandals, arguably the worst since the days of Tammany Hall. One borough president was convicted of felonies; another committed suicide while under investigation; a congressman was recently convicted of bribery and extortion; former party chairmen in two boroughs were convicted of serious crimes; and a number of agency heads, judges, and lesser officials either have been convicted or forced to resign under a cloud of suspicion. And the City does not have a monopoly on malfeasance. Scandals have also plagued the New York State Legislature and governments elsewhere in the State. The Commission on Government Integrity was created in early 1987 by Governor Cuomo, with the approval of the State Legislature, to arrest the destructive effects of these scandals and help make this period one of reform. As set forth in the Commission's "Report on the Failings of Judicial Elections in New York State" which follows, New York should eliminate the election of judges and adopt a merit-based appointive system that will foster judicial independence and guarantee that qualified candidates without political connections have a fair chance to become judges.