July 24, 2015: New York State Bar Association President Miranda Forms Committee to Study NYS Constitution

New York State Bar Association President David P. Miranda has created a committee to examine the state Constitution. Voters in New York in 2017 will decide whether to have a constitutional convention to review the state’s governing documents.

"Although a referendum is more than two years away, the State Bar Association wants to be prepared to contribute to public understanding about how the state Constitution affects the lives of 19 million New Yorkers," Miranda said.

"The goal of the State Bar's Committee on the New York State Constitution is to serve as a resource for the Association and the public about issues relating to the 2017 referendum," he added.

The New York State Constitution is seven times longer than the U.S. Constitution and affects the daily lives of New Yorkers. It governs the state budget and borrowing, how the courts function, schools, the structure of local governments and development in the Adirondacks, to name a few areas of its influence. 

It also requires that New York voters be asked every 20 years whether to hold a constitutional convention to amend, revise or replace the current constitution.  Recent polling by the Siena Research Institute suggests that nearly 70 percent of New Yorkers support the idea of a constitutional convention.

Miranda has appointed Henry M. Greenberg (Greenberg Traurig) as chair of the Committee on the New York State Constitution. Greenberg has vast government and public law experience. Among the public sector posts he has held, Greenberg served as counsel to the New York State Attorney General (2007 to 2010); general counsel for the state Department of Health (1995 to 2000); assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York (1990 to 1995); and law clerk to then-Judge (later Chief Judge) Judith S. Kaye of the state Court of Appeals (1988 to 1990). Currently, he is counsel to the Commission on Judicial Nomination, which nominates New York Court of Appeals judges.

"Hank Greenberg brings to the committee his constitutional expertise as well as professional knowledge  of the Constitution’s effect on the day-to-day operations of state government. I am grateful he has agreed to chair this important committee," Miranda said.

Other committee members are: 

• Past State Bar President Mark H. Alcott of New York City (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton &     Garrison);
• Justice Cheryl E. Chambers of New York City  (Appellate Division, Second Department);
• Former Court of Appeals Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick of New York City (Greenberg & Traurig);
• Linda Jane Clark of Albany (Barclay Damon);
• David L. Cohen of New York City (Law Office of David L. Cohen); 
• John R. Dunne of Albany (Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna);
• Hermes Fernandez of Albany (Bond, Schoeneck & King); 
• Margaret J. Finerty of New York City (Getnick & Getnick); 
• Mark F. Glaser of Albany (Greenberg Traurig);
• Former Court of Appeals Judge Victoria Graffeo of Albany (Harris Beach);
• Peter J. Kiernan of New York City (Schiff Hardin);
• Dean Eric Lane of Hempstead (Hofstra University School of Law); 
• Past State Bar President A. Thomas Levin of Garden City (Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein); 
• Justine M. Luongo of New York City (Legal Aid Society of New York); 
• John M. Nonna of New York City (Squire Patton Boggs);
• Joseph B. Porter of Albany (Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs, State University of New York);
• Andrea Carapella Rendo of Mount Kisco (Wallach & Rendo); 
• Sandra Rivera of Albany (Law Office of Sandra Rivera);  
• Professor Nicholas Adams Robinson of Sleepy Hollow (Pace University Law School);
• Alan Rothstein of New York City (liaison to the New York City Bar Association committee on state Constitution);
• Administrative Judge Alan D. Scheinkman of White Plains (New York State Supreme Court, Ninth Judicial District);
• Justice John W. Sweeney, Jr. of New York City (Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, First Department); 
• Claiborne Ellis Walthall of Albany (Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna);
• Past State Bar President G. Robert Witmer, Jr. of Rochester (Nixon Peabody); and
• Past State Bar President Stephen P. Younger of New York City (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler).

State Bar President Miranda discusses the state Constitution in a brief video, which can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=749A7zSxJQg.

The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  It was founded in 1876.

Contact:
Lise-Bang Jensen, Director of Media Services & Public Affairs
lbang-jensen@nysba.org
518-487-5530