Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9/17/09: Hon. Judge Judith Kaye to Speak at SUNY Ulster on Constitution Day

New York State’s Former Chief Judge, the Honorable Judith S. Kaye, will deliver the Constitution Day lecture at SUNY Ulster on Thursday, September 17, speaking on “The New York State Constitution: An Honored Guest at the Birthday Celebration,” at 7 PM in the Student Lounge in Vanderlyn Hall on the Stone Ridge campus.

Kaye’s speech about the links between the state and U.S. Constitutions is the featured presentation of the college’s new Institute for Constitutional Studies Lecture Series, an annual series with distinguished legal scholars, constitutional experts, political scientists and historians. Kaye, who was born in the Hudson Valley, was the first woman to hold the State Judiciary’s highest office. She will be introduced by the Institute’s Director Dr. Ray Raymond, SUNY Ulster associate professor of government and history. Explaining the significance of Constitution Day, Raymond said: “The great Nineteenth Century British Prime Minister William Gladstone once described the U.S. Constitution as the ‘greatest product of the mind of man.’ Lavish praise, but justified. The U.S. Constitution was and is the work of genius. On Constitution Day, we celebrate the signing of the Constitution by the framers who had spent four months negotiating and drafting it. Essential to the success of that Constitution was a delicate balance between the new federal government and the states.” “We are truly honored to have Judge Judith Kaye, a distinguished legal scholar and the greatest chief judge in New York’s history, deliver this lecture,” he said. “This will be a unique opportunity for students, faculty, teachers, the legal community and local residents, thereby furthering the mission of the Institute.”

SUNY Ulster founded the Institute to help college faculty, students, teachers, business people, the legal community and the general public in the Mid-Hudson Valley deepen their understanding of the fundamental principles of the United States and the New York state constitutions, their history and their continuing relevance to current public policy debates.

The College launched the Institute with an inaugural lecture in February 2009 by the Honorable Albert Rosenblatt, former Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, who described Kaye as “the ultimate chief judge: erudite, fair, patient, hard working, and, above all, decent.” “Judge Kaye always spoke to people with respect and in a way that would uplift rather than demean,” Rosenblatt said in a recent tribute. “There could not have been, nor was there, a chief judge who cared more about the justice system, and all of those in it -- the judges, lawyers, employees , and, of course, the public -- more than Judith Kaye. She gained the affection and the respect of all of them.”

Kaye was born in Monticello in Sullivan County. Appointed by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo in 1993, she was the first Chief Judge ever to complete a full 14-year term and was appointed to a second term by Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2007. Kaye is the first woman to occupy the State Judiciary’s highest office and also became the first woman to serve on New York State’s highest court when Gov. Cuomo appointed her Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals in 1983. Kaye holds a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and law degree from New York University School of Law. She engaged in private practice in New York City until her appointment to the Court of Appeals. Kaye retired at the end of 2008, after reaching the state’s mandatory retirement age of 70. Kaye is now of counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York City.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For information, contact 845-687-5262. News Source:

No comments: