Judith S. Kaye


Judge Coffin is an inspiration on so many levels for all of us. But just at this very moment in my own life, I feel that he is speaking personally and directly to me. I am in my own transitioning period, as-in just fifty-five days-my judicial service comes to an end after over twenty-five years, because our state constitution provides for mandatory age retirement. I particularly liked a quotation Judge Coffin included in his article: "Our lives are two/ If we can relish our past life anew." So, under the banner of Law and Public Service, I thought I would take this occasion to relish, with all of you, my own soon-to-be-past life as Chief Judge. What I will tell you about my life in the New York courts is, by the way, largely replicated in state courts across the nation. As Chief Judge, I actually have two roles. One-as Chief Judge of the state's high court-is an adjudicative role. I serve as a member of a great common law court, one of seven equals. The other-as Chief Judge of the State of New York-is an executive/ administrative role, head of our huge, sprawling Judicial Branch, with approximately 15,000 employees, 365 courthouses, and roughly four million filings annually. I spend about 80 percent of my time as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, and the other 80 percent as Chief Judge of the State of New York.

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