Having reached age 70 earlier this year, Chief Judith S. Kaye must, under New York law, retire by December 31st. Yesterday, Judge Kaye gave what she called her “swan song” speech (full text available at http://nycourts.gov/). The New York Times reports that, although Judge Kaye praised Hon. Jonathan Lippman (whom she appointed Chief Administrative Judge of New York State in 1996), she did not endorse a successor. As the Times notes, Judge Kaye was the first woman appointed to be chief judge and is the longest-serving chief judge in New York history.
Judge Kaye stated in her speech that the lawsuit she filed over judicial pay “sickens” her. The lawsuit raises questions about whether there is a breach of the separation of governmental powers when the chief of the judicial branch sues the legislative branch for failure to act. The effect that this case will have on Judge Kaye’s legacy is explored in detail on New York Personal Injury Blog today.
Most people agree that an eleven-year freeze on judicial wages is unfair. Unfortunately, with Governor Patterson calling for $5.2 billion in budget cuts over the next 16 months and asking thousands of state workers to defer pay for five days, it seems likely that this wage freeze will last quite a while longer.