judicial selection, New York, court reform, nonpolitical selection, unfit judge


On February 27, 1974 Chief Judge Charles D. Breitel of the New York State Court of Appeals addressed the New York Legislature regarding the "State of the Judiciary and Judicial System" and presented dramatic proposals for the reform of the New York state court system. In resurrecting the problem of court reform, the Chief Judge focused in part on one particularly controversial area-the selection of the judiciary. New Yorkers, as well as many other Americans, have become increasingly cognizant of the problem of inefficient administration of the judicial system by some of our nation's state and federal judges. A full awareness of the extent and potential impact of the problem occurs when one examines the influence exerted by judges in the American system, and the ever increasing delays in our courts, especially in our urban areas. Although the need for some type of nonpolitical selection has often been acknowledged, proposals as to the type and manner of such selection have varied and are in constant dispute. Chief Judge Breitel's legislative proposals for the selection of judges are in the form of amendments to the state constitution and the New York Judiciary Law. Although this bill died in the State Assembly Rules Committee on the Judiciary, Chief Judge Breitel will apparently continue to strive for the adoption of this reform as well as others. This Note will explore the problems resulting from the selection of unfit judges. It will also evaluate New York State's present provisions for judicial selection and Chief Judge Breitel's reform measures in light of the success of similar plans instituted in California and Missouri. In addition, the new selection plan of Governor Hugh L. Carey will be examined.

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