On January 1st there will be three relatively new judges seated on the New York Court of Appeals by appointment of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Two have already been appointed and confirmed by our Senate: Judges Madeline Singas and Anthony Cannataro—both, I am certain, will be excellent jurists. The last time three judges ascended to that court, all at the same time, was by election in 1972 when I, along with two of my dearest friends, Hugh Jones and Dominic Gabrielli, were given—as former Chief Judge Judith Kaye noted—“the privilege beyond description to labor in the cause of justice alongside the greatest people on earth.”
When Hugh Jones retired from our court, he delivered the New York City’s Bar Association Cardozo lecture, Cogitations on Appellate Decision Making. I would recommend that every appellate court judge read those Cogitations, which begins with the recognition “that others … may and probably do hold divergent or opposing views which in the end may prove to be more perceptive and wise than mine.” I echo that reservation, but because I am the only elected judge of the Court of Appeals still alive, and the only survivor of the courts headed by Chief Judges Fuld and Breitel, I presume to add this addendum to Hugh’s cogitations.