New York Court Watcher

Vincent Martin Bonventre, the Justice Robert H. Jackson Distinguished Professor at Albany Law School, inaugurated New York Court Watcher in May 2008. Court observer Bonventre offers research and commentary on the United States Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals, and other federal and state courts on a wide range of public law issues.

Since its inception, New York Court Watcher has published several hundred commentaries. Virtually all of them are based on original research. Voting patterns of Justices and judges, as well as decisional patterns of the courts on which they sit, are a staple of the commentaries. Courts, Justices and judges, and the politics surrounding them--as well as practiced by them--are examined from a realistic and practical perspective. That is, legal realism as opposed to formalism. From the perspective of a political scientist as well as a lawyer.

New York Court Watcher Blogs

Latest from New York Court Watcher

More Aftermath of Scalia’s Dreadful Oregon v. Smith Opinion We’ve previously discussed how New York’s highest court, when deciding Catholic Charities v. Serio in 2006, did so with the Supreme Court’s 1990 decision in Oregon v. Smith as a backdrop. The Supreme Court in Smith significantly reduced the 1st Amendment protection for religious liberty, and the New York court in Catholic Charities …
More Aftermath of Scalia’s Dreadful Oregon v. Smith Opinion Prior to discussing the Supreme Court’s three recent church-state decisions in the immediately preceding post (see Part 1a–addendum), we discussed the status of federal free exercise protections. Under the 1st Amendment–at least since Scalia’s majority opinion in the 1990 Oregon v. Smith decision–religious liberty is protected only…
More Aftermath of Scalia’s Dreadful Oregon v. Smith Opinion Before advancing to the New York decisions, it probably makes sense to first address the three rulings just handed down by the Supreme Court dealing with religion. One dealt with discrimination against religion, another with discrimination by religion, and the third one with a regulation accommodating religion. None of these affect…
More Aftermath of Scalia’s Dreadful Oregon v. Smith Opinion Last week, in Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany v. Vullo, a New York appellate court rejected religious objections to paying for abortion coverage. The state’s Appellate Division, Third Department, voted unanimously to deny the Albany Catholic Diocese, as well as other religious groups, an exemption from New York’s…
As this is being prepared, the 5-4 Court–Roberts voting with the liberals–invalidated the Louisiana abortion restrictions. More on that and on that continuing pattern below. Source:Reuters/Leah Mills We’ve previously looked at Chief Justice Roberts’ breaking with his conservative colleagues and aligning with the Court’s liberals to help form majorities in politically charged cases dealing…
Source: AP/Dave Tulis/Larry Downing In Part 1, we saw how Chief Justice Roberts joined decisions that saved so-called Obamacare and that protected immigrants. In those cases, he often authored the majority opinion himself, allying himself with his liberal colleagues to render decisions that triggered unconcealed outrage on the part of all or most of his conservative colleagues in dissent. We…
Source: Reuters//Jonathan Ernst Sure, let’s not go overboard. Despite some recent decisions welcomed by political liberals, the Supreme Court has hardly turned liberal. Indeed, most decisions of the past year–let alone of the last few decades–have been those favored by political conservatives. Whether in civil rights and liberties, the rights of the accused, employment and labor law, war…
Pandemic restrictions, transitioning to remote teaching, exams, grading, other projects, preoccupation with breaking news, etc. Now back at last. In the first post in this series, we took a look at Justice Niel Gorsuch’s voting record immediately following his appointment in the final few months of the 2016-17 term. As shown in that post, Gorsuch voted for the politically conservative side of…
Henry J. Abraham, University of Virginia Professor Emeritus, passed away last week at the age of 98. My Ph.D. mentor–and adopted "Uncle Henry"–was unconditionally cherished by so many of us over his more than 50 years of teaching. All of us in the "Tribe of Abraham" are heartbroken. I’m so glad I spent time with him last month. A few recent appreciations: A Life Uncommon (https://…
To begin the New Year, here are a few appearances late last year on radio, TV, and podcast, commenting on a variety of constitutional and judicial matters of national and state interest. In the coming posts, we’ll tend to some other overdue matters.Meanwhile, wishing all a very happy, healthy 2020! December30, 2019: Cuomo’s reshaping of the Court of Appeals In his nine years in the Governor’s Office, Andrew Cuomo has reshaped the state’s highest court.…