I already wrote on this blog that Judiciary Law 14 thus
presupposes disclosure by judges of their family trees
to the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity,
not that judges are going to do that, but that's what
the law presupposes, again, because otherwise
this requirement is hollow and without any meaning.
But, additionally Judiciary Law 14 provides
an interesting twist on the so-called "absolute judicial
immunity for malicious and corrupt acts" - a judicially
created concept, an unlawful restriction of
jurisdiction of federal courts in civil rights cases
that is not found anywhere in the text of
the Civil Rights Act.
In its seminal case on absolute judicial immunity,
Stump v Sparkman, the U.S. Supreme Court claimed that
a judge is immune even if his or her actions are
"malicious and corrupt".
Enters Judiciary Law 14.
If a judge is "malicious", that means the judge's
intent in litigation is to cause injury to a litigant
or litigant's attorney - that is a personal interest
under Judiciary Law 14, stripping the judge of
jurisdiction, and judicial immunity does not apply
"in clear absence of all jurisdiction".
If the judge acts in a corrupt manner (was bribed,
with money or non-monetary benefits to the judge
or to whoever else the judge has a personal interest in),
it means that, under Judiciary Law 14, the judge
is "interested" in the outcome of the case and
"shall not sit", has no jurisdiction and is not
subject to the judicial immunity defense.
As an added bonus, prohibition of Judiciary Law 14
is jurisdictional, and makes decisions in violation
of the statute not voidable,but void (when courts
agree to actually apply the statute properly,
which rarely happens, because judges in all courts
are usually power-hungry and are very reluctant
to obey the law imposing restrictions on their power).
Yet, the law is there, and it undermines the
concept of absolute judicial immunity for
civil rights state defendants in New York.