The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Everyone else has weighed in on this so we we'll too.

A split in the GOP has left many scratching their heads about this year's Supreme Court races. This seems to be the only election arena where the local GOP comes off looking like Democrats.

Judge Spain has captured a cross-endorsement and will be on a host of lines. He'll be a shoe-in and will maintain his spot on the Appellate Division. The Democrats have also nominated Judge Egan, an Albany judge. Egan has the Independence line as well. Michael Lynch is an Albany attorney and a former law clerk to Judge Weiss.

Opposing them on the GOP side are three forgettable attorneys, two from Albany County and one from Ulster. One Jill Dunne, is an attorney for the Department of Motor Vehicles. Will the people's love for the all things DMV help her?

Rensselaer County Surrogate's Court Judge Christian Hummel has the Conservative line.

It now appears that the Democrats and Republicans were close to a deal where two Democrats and one Republican would be cross-endorsed. This blew up because the Ulster County and Albany County GOP bosses would not agree on Hummel, easily the most electable of the three GOP candidates. This, despite Joe Bruno's support of Hummel.

Our legal department has helped us to sort this all out. We think we've made sense of it, if sense can be made of area politics.

A seat on the Supreme Court is a great gig. You have a fourteen year term and if you're closing in on 50 years of age or older, it may be the last job you'll ever need. Despite the fact that black robes are very slimming, the lack of any meaningful patronage makes these positions less appealing on a political level. Judges can hire their clerk and their secretary and that's about it. Therefore, these races are never really a major concern for area pols.

Add to that the miserable condition of the State GOP and it's clear where this is going. Unca' Joe is losing his juice. Local county bosses are not yet ready to openly defy him on something important but they know his political days are numbered. So a few of them are stretching their wings.

Area attorneys also have influence in these races. Not enough to swing the balance but enough to help. They have money to donate and they people ask their opinion on these races because many are unfamiliar with the courts. We spoke with an Albany County attorney, a registered Republican, who is voting for Spain, Egan and Hummel. Area attorneys will not throw their weight behind people who they don't know. The local bar knows and respects Spain, Egan and Hummel, regardless of party affiliation. Each has proven they are of judicial caliber and more importantly, to attorneys, that they can work with attorneys. Unfortunately, Hummel can't win.

The bright side for Hummel is that we predict he'll be on the Supreme Court within a year. Spain will win re-election but serve on the Appellate Division so the Supreme Court will be down one judge after this election. Another judge died, one transferred to the First Department and at least two have retired and one (Canfield) will be retiring. Vacancies will be filled by Pataki and we find it hard to believe that Hummel won't be among those selected. Hummel is, and will continue to be, a fine judge.

So we endorse Spain, Egan and Hummel for Supreme Court. We expect the winners will be Spain, Egan and ? Probably Lynch, but you never know.

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