Justice Edward Lazansky was born on December 9, 1872, the son of Bohemian immigrants who had arrived in the United States four years earlier. Against his family’s wishes, Lazansky pursued a career in law rather than taking up his father’s glass and paint business. After attending Brooklyn public schools, he graduated from Columbia College in 1895. He became active in Democratic politics at a young age; while still in college, in 1893, he lost an election for the Assembly by a narrow margin. Lazansky was admitted to the bar in 1897 and began working as an assistant corporation counsel in Brooklyn. He then practiced with the firm of Jonas, Lazansky & Neuberger. From 1911 to 1912, he held the position of Secretary of State.
Lazansky’s judicial career began in 1917 when he was elected to the State Supreme Court. Governor Alfred E. Smith designated Lazansky to the Appellate Division, Second Department in 1926 and in October of the following year, promoted him to presiding justice of that court. Lazansky left the bench in 1942, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Lazansky continued to practice law at the firm of Rubinton & Coleman. In 1945 he was appointed to a special committee by Mayor LaGuardia, and worked on such causes as investigating racial discrimination in baseball. As a member of the Mayor’s Committee on Unity, he worked to dispel racial and religious tensions in the city. Additionally, he served on the Board of Education, as a trustee of City College, and was a founder and chairman of the board of trustees of the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. Prominent for his humanitarian work in the Brooklyn community, he was awarded a scroll by the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities in 1942 and was honored for his citizenship by the Men’s League of Brooklyn in 1943.
He was married to Cora Oppenheim. He died in Long Island on September 12, 1955 at the age of 82.
“E. Lazansky Dies; a Former Justice.” New York Times (1923-Current file): 31. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Sep 13 1955. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.
“Justice Lazansky Feted at 70 Years.” New York Times (1923-Current file): 42. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Dec 16 1942. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.
“Lazansky Honored as Foe of Bigotry.” New York Times (1923-Current file): 13. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2008). Mar 16 1951. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.