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Gerald J. Whalen, Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Just before Thanksgiving, Chief Justice John Roberts commented that “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.” Mark Sherman, “Roberts, Trump spar in extraordinary scrap over judges,” Associated Press (Nov. 21, 2018). Strong opinions followed regarding the practical reality of that statement, and yet there can be no dispute that the appearance of such partisanship is antithetical to our judicial system. This is because, no less than the attorneys, judges, court officers, and staff who endeavor daily to ensure a just resolution of disputes, the effectiveness of our system also requires the public’s faith and trust. Indeed, this faith is integral to the rule of law itself, which “presupposes a functioning judiciary respected for its independence, its professional attainments, and the absolute probity of its judges.” New York State Board of Elections v. Lopez Torres, 552 U.S. 196, 212 (2008) (Kennedy, J., concurring).

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