Here is a beautiful piece in the Albany Times Union about Christine Ryba, an attorney for Chief Judge Karen Peters, an attorney who advised the court on its decisions, including decisions on disciplining attorneys for misconduct, and a member of the NYS Statewide Commission for Attorney Discipline.
Ryba was booted by Peters on November 2, 2015 for unethical conduct, without public disclosure of termination, which allowed Ryba to get elected the next day to the position of a New York State Supreme Court justice.
So, Ryba was thrown out the window, but will ride a white horse back through the doors of the New York State courthouses, with fanfares.
Here is a very interesting paragraph from the yesterday's article of the Times Union about the obvious judicial corruption:
"There are still absentee votes to count in the race, and it's highly unlikely that Ryba's alleged conduct would be enough to warrant more than a wagged finger from state judicial disciplinarians. If she's the eventual winner, Ryba could turn out to be an eminent jurist, and there's no doubt that her election as the first African-American woman to sit on the bench in the 3rd District would add much-needed diversity to this corner of state Supreme Court.
Even so, the controversy is another reminder that the system we use to select Supreme Court justices ought to be scrapped."
The paragraph says three things, let's start from the end.
1/ "The controversy" shows that "the system we use to select Supreme Court justices ought to be scrapped".
So, there is a recognition that the way Ryba was elected was fraught with impropriety, right?
Yet, why such drastic measures to correct that misconduct?
Why the whole system of ELECTIONS OF JUDGES should be scrapped because one candidate chose to engage in unethical conduct and abuse her employment within the court system?
2/ Yet, there is lamentation that, probably, the NYS Judicial Conduct Commission will not do more than "wag a finger" at Ryba. That is a recognition that the system of judicial discipline in New York is not effective.
3/ Despite 1/ and 2/, the "Times Union", in its editorial no less, makes an astounding pronouncement:
If Ryba makes it to the bench come January, and be awarded a judicial position that she obtained by fraud and unethical conduct, after she was booted as an employee from the court system (of which fact voters who voted for her were not notified), TWO GOOD THINGS will happen, in "Times Union"'s opinion:
1) Ryba may make an "eminent jurist", and
2) there's no doubt that her election as the first African-American woman to sit on the bench in the 3rd District would add much-needed diversity to this corner of state Supreme Court.
A) even though Ryba's election was obtained through fraud and unethical conduct; and
B) even though the only reason Ryba's election might stand is ineffectiveness of the system of judicial discipline in the state,
Because all you care about as a litigant and attorney is the judge's integrity and competence.
Ryba lacks integrity, thus, her election-by-fraud does nothing to her race than a disservice. We have enough allegations that African Americans get benefits, including high positions in the government, only through affirmative action.
There should not be an affirmative action, or even a trace, a shadow, a merest shade of it, in judicial elections.
Out of hundreds of thousands of deserving attorneys to occupy judicial positions in the State of New York, many of those attorneys are African Americans, and many of them are female African Americans. And the reason they did not run is because they did not have the backup such as what Ryba had - from the Appellate Court.
Ryba had enough to fight honestly in the judicial elections. Yet, she chose to fight dishonestly.
Once again, she is a DISSERVICE to her race and her election by fraud should not be paraded as a contribution to diversity.
Once again, misconduct in judicial elections cannot be justified and especially glorified and explained away by the need for diversity on the bench.
What "Times Union" said is an insult to deserving African American attorneys.
And, it is also a good example as to how corruption in the judiciary, and in judicial election, is presented by mainstream media - a lot of puffing up and then a cowardly statement lest the criticized judge will be presiding over the newspaper's case at some point.
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