Contact: Andrew Rush
Director, Media Services & Public Affairs
arush@nysba.org
518/487-5530

June 21, 2007

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION ENDORSES GOVERNOR SPITZER'S MERIT SELECTION PLAN

Calls for the Legislature to Act on Needed Reforms to the Judicial Selection Process

With the legislative session nearing conclusion, the New York State Bar Association today officially endorsed Governor Eliot Spitzer's proposed constitutional amendment to reform the judicial selection process in New York State and enact a merit selection system for selecting judges. In a letter sent to the legislature today, the association called for immediate action on this vitally important issue.
 
Speaking in support of the Governor's proposal, Bar Association President Kathryn Grant Madigan (Levene Gouldin & Thompson LLP) said, "Our Association has supported merit selection of judges for more than 30 years, and in our view, the measure put forth by Governor Spitzer represents true reform of a broken system. Merely patching up a dysfunctional convention process will continue to undermine judicial independence and erode public confidence in our system of justice. The Governor's Program Bill would ensure that competence, experience, temperament and integrity -- that is, merit -- rather than political loyalty, are the primary factors in choosing judges."

Madigan concluded, "We applaud Governor Spitzer for putting forward a constitutional amendment to implement merit selection of judges and we urge the Legislature to approve the Governor's proposal.  New York has an historic opportunity to implement true reform, now is the time to seize it."

A copy of the New York State Bar Association's letter to the legislature is attached, or can be viewed on the association's web site, www.nysba.org.

The 72,000 member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.

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