In a lively and sometimes humorous argument that stretched from a planned 40 minutes to two hours, the three appellate judges considering the constitutionality of New York’s system for electing Supreme Court justices gave little indication of what the future might hold.

Would they affirm Eastern District of New York Judge John Gleeson, ending a convention system that dates back to 1921 and leaving Supreme Court justices to fight their way through open primaries? Would they remand the case for a new remedy, perhaps asking Gleeson to hold a full trial while staying his ruling through the 2007 election, giving the Legislature time to act? Or might they simply reverse after finding that the complicated convention system that gives the state its judges is perhaps not a shining example of democracy, but constitutional nonetheless?

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