Saturday, January 28, 2006

Feldman is A Big Part of Judge Gleason's Decision to Do Away With Judicial Conventions

"Rebuking Party Leaders, Court Halts System of Picking Judges
A federal judge yesterday struck down the system that has given state political party leaders a stranglehold over the way top trial judges across New York State have been elected for decades.

In a decision that could have a lasting impact on the judicial selection process across the state, the judge, John Gleeson of the United States District Court in Brooklyn, found the system unconstitutional and ordered it halted immediately.

Judge Gleeson barred the State Board of Elections and Republican and Democratic Party officials from the practice of selecting candidates for State Supreme Court justice at sharply controlled nominating conventions that some critics said effectively robbed voters of their say in who made it to the bench. He ordered that they instead hold primaries until state lawmakers pass legislation setting up a new system." - NY TIMES - January 28, 2006

Feldman: "No such list existed “anywhere in the world"
From Judge Gleason Decision:“

Concededly, there is not a rich history of challenger candidates even attempting to make their case to the delegates selected by the party leaders. But plaintiff Margarita López Torres has tried it, and her experience in the Second District does not bode well for other such candidates, especially those who deign to run slates of judicial delegates against those fielded by the party leadership. Beginning in March of 2003, López Torres wrote repeatedly to the Kings County Democratic County Committee to learn three basic things: (1) the date, time and place of the convention; (2) the names of the delegates, so she could lobby them; and (3) whether she could address the delegates at the convention. She did not hear from its Executive Director, Jeffrey C. Feldman, until September 4, 2003, after she once again requested the information.

Feldman’s response is difficult to reconcile with the defendants’ gauzy characterizations of a democratic process open to all party members who seek the office of Supreme Court Justice. He began by mocking the request for a list of delegates to lobby: “I erroneously believed that a learned jurist, such as yourself, would be well aware that Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the Democratic Judicial Convention stand for independent election in the Primary Election, yet to be held.”

No such list existed “anywhere in the world,” Feldman helpfully added. Id. As for López Torres’s inquiry about addressing the convention, Feldman wrote as follows: “I suffer from the innocent belief that the floor of the Convention is open, only, to elected Delegates and their successors. I am not aware of any Convention in my thirty (30) years of attendance, which permitted a non-accredited member to be accorded the privilege of the floor ....” Id. In closing, Feldman “note[d] for the record that” López-Torres’s fax machine was “in violation of Federal Communications Commission regulations” and admonished her to bring it into compliance. Id.

He then chastised her for mailing him so many (unanswered) letter requests, and spending “copious sums in postage from, presumably, your political committee.” Id. In sum, lobbying judicial convention delegates and alternates is not a realistic route to a nomination even for diligent candidates if they lack the support of party leaders. “

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