We at the Society were honored to be asked to participate as a sponsor in the webinar Invisible No More: The Eunice Carter Story, to collaborate with The Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission and Office of Court Administration’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion. This program told the story of Eunice Carter, Esq., a remarkable woman who became the first African American woman Assistant District Attorney in NYS in the 1930s.
Her life and career were highlighted by her grandson Prof. Stephen L. Carter and great-granddaughter Leah Aird Carter, Esq., author and principal researcher of Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster, respectively.
We at the Society are mourning the passing of a Society friend and fellow New Yorker, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court bench after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and held this position for 27 years — the culmination of a truly remarkable legal career dedicated to equal justice for all.
In her memory, we are proudly returning to two of our programs filled to overflowing at the New York City Bar Association, in which Justice Ginsburg graciously participated. These two programs were presented by us in partnership with the United States Supreme Court Historical Society. They are Ladies of Legend: The First Generation of American Women Attorneys and John Jay: A Family Affair. You can watch the video of Ladies of Legend. Unfortunately, the second program video is not available at this time.
Ladies of Legend features a warm and engaging exchange between Judge Kaye and Justice Ginsburg, which appears below.
Watch Ladies of Legend Program Introductions
You can watch the entire video of the Ladies of Legend lecture by clicking the link below:
This blog article was written by Elen Krut, Esq. Elen is a practicing attorney in Staten Island, NY. She graduated with honors from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and was admitted to practice in New York in 2017.
In the beginning of the promising new year, 2020, walking down the St. George area of Staten Island was an adventure for many attorneys. Going between the new 26 Central courthouse, the Hyatt Street support magistrate parts, the infamous 18 Richmond Terrace courthouse, and our small but mighty Family Court was an every-day routine for many. On the way, one would surely expect to meet a familiar face, slow down a bit to have a friendly conversation, stop by the Dunkin Donuts, visit a local grocery store, or get lunch with a colleague at Beso or the Gavel Grill.
However, oftentimes, tragedy comes as an unwanted guest, and in March of 2020, we found ourselves facing the
Covid-19 pandemic. Following the stay-at-home orders, we were locked in our houses. Some attorneys were forced to temporarily close their practices; some to work from home; and others were laid off. We all hoped and prayed for those who were battling the virus, as well as those who are out helping people in these shattering times.
One would know that the “stay at home” situation was quite serious when the most frequented St. George local grocery store saddened with an empty gloomy appearance. This local store is called “Not Guilty,” and it’s ironically and proudly located right across the street from the Criminal Court parts. However, “Not Guilty” was not the only empty place in this otherwise always energetic area. All businesses and offices, our courthouses, deposition office spaces, and everything else that used to make our legal system move forward, were just as empty and lifeless.
But those are the material things, conveniences and tools that we, as attorneys, used daily. What about people? How are our colleagues? How are they holding up? Are they safe? How are they handling this unprecedented situation that no one was ready for? What are their thoughts and experiences? Are they working remotely or not even remotely working?
As always, the most prudent answer is best found by going directly to the source. In the interviews conducted for the Historical Society of the New York Courts’ project to record lawyers’ response to the pandemic, we explored a variety of topics, including attorneys’ personal and professional experiences dealing with the pandemic, how their practice was affected, challenges they faced and had to overcome, as well as success stories, their lessons learned and advices shared. Below are the excerpts from their interviews.
Marilyn Marcus was recently featured in the Unified Court System’s Amici Podcast with John Caher to discuss our important project Dispensing Justice from a Distance: Journal of the NYS Courts During the 2020 Pandemic. As Marilyn notes, Dispensing Justice seeks to tell the individual stories of judges and court staff on-the-ground during the pandemic, handling essential matters, conducting virtual hearings, and ensuring everyone continues to get their day in court – showcasing in real time through these shared experiences how the courts never closed. It will also explore administration in various courthouses with administrative judges up the chain to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks how the courts achieved this remarkable feat of going from in-person to remote working with the technology staff of the court system.
In the continuation of our podcast series Chatting with the Authors, Judicial Notice author Hon. Robert S. Smith, retired Associate Judge of the NYS Court of Appeals, spoke to guest interviewer Daniel F. Loud about his article on James Kent – just in time for the Fourth of July. Kent had an illustrious career in the years following the American Revolution, and is best remembered for his decisions and written commentaries which helped shape the burgeoning common law in America. In this interesting podcast, Judge Smith provides his insights about the choices Kent made in his legal and judicial career.
The Society is proud of its longstanding partnership with Bard College, and specifically Bard High School Early College. With Bard, the Society has developed lesson plans and other curricula, teachers workshops across the state, and a fellowship that brings lawyers and scholars into the classroom to teach students about the important role of the courts in our society and empower students to understand the rights afforded to them by this branch of government.
As we continue to socially distance, we’ve been bringing to you digitally what we couldn’t bring to you physically: Issue 15 of Judicial Notice! Our authors have provided preview blog posts, highlighting the key stories of the important legal luminaries they profiled in their articles. The series of posts is now complete, and as the courts enter reopening phases, we hope to mail this issue soon.
As we end the month of May, we conclude our celebration of Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month with a new podcast and blog post.
In the podcast, Jacob Y. Chen, a partner at Dai & Associates PC who became involved in this project through Trustee David L. Goodwin, interviews Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan, Appellate Term, First Dept., about her experiences as a pioneering Asian American judge in the NY Court System, and her motivation to become a founding member of the Asian American Bar Association. Justice Ling-Cohan reflects on discrimination she has faced and the importance of role models in her career development.
This blog article was written by Karen Lin. Karen joined the New York State courts in 1999 as a law clerk in New York County Supreme Court, Civil Division. She is a former New York City Housing Court judge and currently serves as a court attorney referee in Kings County Surrogate’s Court. She is co-chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York.
Editor’s Note: Opinions contained in this blog article are those of the author, and do not express any opinions or policies of the Historical Society of the New York Courts.
In honor of Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, I am so pleased that the Historical Society of the New York Courts is recognizing the diversity of our state and its people by celebrating the history, achievements, and challenges of diverse Americans.
The month of May was designated by Congress as Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month to coincide with two milestones in American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants in May 7, 1843, and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869. But even before them, the first Asians to arrive in North America were Filipino sailors in the late 1500s. Some settled in Louisiana in 1763, working as shrimp fishermen and who would later serve under General Jackson in the War of 1812. The first significant wave of immigration from Korea started on January 13, 1903, when a shipload of Korean immigrants arrived in Hawaii to work on pineapple and sugar plantations. South Asians were noted to have been in the United States since the 1700s and 1800s, from the regions of Punjab and Bengal. Starting in the 1970s, Southeast Asian refugees resettled in the United States from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, fleeing the trauma of war and violence following the Khmer Rouge genocide, mass bombings in Laos, and the Vietnam War. Asian Americans are now the fastest growing major racial or ethnic group in the United States, numbering 22.6 million in 2018.
We recently completed a very special videocast The Evolution of Slavery, Abolition in NY, and the NY Courts: The Lemmon Slave Case with Dennis E. Glazer and Hon. Albert M. Rosenblatt. Affirmed by the Court of Appeals in 1860, the Lemmon Slave Case illustrates how NYS law was ahead of federal in finding that slaves brought into the State were not property. This went against the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, decided three years earlier.