Friday, January 25, 2008

New York Times: Lopez Torres “Blazing a Trail”

The Supreme Court’s reversal of the lower court decisions in Lopez Torres v. New York State Board of Elections was a major victory for the defenders of New York’s judicial selection status quo. As counsel to the plaintiffs, the Brennan Center, along with all those observers who understand the seamy realities of how New York’s system actually works in practice, was certainly disappointed by the decision.

That said, as we indicated in an op-ed in Tuesday’s New York Law Journal, the First Amendment claim rejected by the Supreme Court is just one chapter in an 87-year story. The battle to end the Byzantine process by which New York’s trial court judgeships are determined, will go on both legislatively and in the courts.

Today, a wonderful and deeply personal profile story in the New York Times looks at the remarkable woman and jurist behind the case that bears her name. The profile examines the courage of our lead plaintiff, whose story serves as a valuable reminder of why the fight for a truly accessible selection process is not only worth fighting, but is an essential component the larger struggle for truly fair and independent courts.

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