George Bundy Smith
George Bundy Smith (NYLJ/Rick Kopstein)

There was a glaring omission in the article on George Bundy Smith’s career and passing: his joinder with the majority in Hernandez v. Robles and companion cases before the Court of Appeals. Judge Smith’s impressive lifetime work to improve the condition of oppressed people unfortunately did not extend to New York’s gay and lesbian citizens. The decision in Hernandez took almost a decade to reverse legislatively, and did untold damage to equality across the country, given the influence of our Court of Appeals. Similar to what Judge Smith was protesting as a Freedom Rider—Jim Crow laws in the South—the Hernandez decision he joined was on the wrong side of history, and is a permanent scar on the reputation of the court that should be remembered.

Robert N. H. Christmas
The writer is a partner of Nixon Peabody in New York.