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.

Latest from New York Court Watcher - Page 2

We previously looked at the stark disparity among the Court of Appeals Judges in the number of CLA’s (Crimnal Leave Applications) they granted last year. Some Judges had comparatively high numbers. Others very low. These figures underscore what is well known by attorneys who practice before New York’s highest court, as well as by those who have worked there and by those who study it. Getting permission to argue a criminal appeal before the Court…
First, some background. CLA’s (Criminal Leave Applications) are petitions to the Court of Appeals, NY’s highest court, asking it to review a decision by a lower court. But, as those who are familiar with Court of Appeals practice know, these CLA’s are handled quite differently than other matters. Unlike other decisions made by the Court of Appeals–whether it be on a case or a motion or even a petition to hear a civil appeal–decisions on…
First, some background. CLA’s (Criminal Leave Applications) are petitions to the Court of Appeals, NY’s highest court, asking it to review a decision by a lower court. But, as those who are familiar with Court of Appeals practice know, these CLA’s are handled quite differently than other matters. Unlike other decisions made by the Court of Appeals–whether it be on a case or a motion or even a petition to hear a civil appeal–decisions on…
New York’s highest court must step up. The reactionary direction in so many areas of national policy and, perhaps most especially, the effect that the two newest appointees to the Supreme Court will have on federal constitutional and statutory protections, require heightened vigilance by state high courts. As the final arbiters of their individual state’s own constitution and laws, state courts have the authority, opportunity, and obligation to independently insure that fundamental civil rights and liberties are…
Dissents, Disappointments, and Open Questions (Reviewing the Supreme Court’s past term and developments–yes, and enjoying the Saratoga meet–monopolized my time for a while. Back to the New York Court.) Judges who are proud of their opinions sign them.And when they don’t? Let’s return to that June 14 set of decisions by New York’s highest Court. To be sure, the Court of Appeals’ entire past year cannot be reduced to one day. But that day’s particular…
The shouting has largely subsided. The Court’s ruling has settled in, and the outward manifestations of euphoria and despair have largely moved on to other issues. Despite what has been said–both leading up to the decision and immediately thereafter–it was neither one of the very best or very worst decisions in recent memory. Not even among this past term’s collection of 5-4 rulings.[Disclosure: I do think that this case was close on the legal validity…
The shouting has largely subsided. The Court’s ruling has settled in, and the outward manifestations of euphoria and despair have largely moved on to other issues. Despite what has been said–both leading up to the decision and immediately thereafter–it was neither one of the very best or very worst decisions in recent memory. Not even among this past term’s collection of 5-4 rulings.[Disclosure: I do think that this case was close on the legal validity…
So what about this “originalism” and “settled principles” approach to judicial decision-making that Judge Kavanaugh touts? Sounds fine. We’ll see. In the last post (see Part 1), we scrutinized one branch of the originalist/textualist judicial “philosophy” embraced by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Specifically, the “not-in-the-text” insistence that judges ought not to “make up” rights that are “not in the text of the Constitution.” That superficially appealing, pseudo-constitutional nonsense–yes that’s harsh, but that’s really all it…
So what about this “originalism” and “settled principles” approach to judicial decision-making that Judge Kavanaugh touts? Sounds fine. We’ll see. In the last post (see Part 1), we scrutinized one branch of the originalist/textualist judicial “philosophy” embraced by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Specifically, the “not-in-the-text” insistence that judges ought not to “make up” rights that are “not in the text of the Constitution.” That superficially appealing, pseudo-constitutional nonsense–yes that’s harsh, but that’s really all it…
The battle now begins. As we all now know, federal appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit was nominated for the Supreme Court this week by President Trump. To Republicans, he is apparently the greatest thing since sliced bread. To Democrats, he is apparently the prince of darkness. Well, like most of us, he’s somewhere in the middle.(His official biography is linked below.) He is ideologically conservative. Maybe very much so. Maybe extremely…