Albany, NY (March 16, 2007): State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) joined recently with her Senate colleagues in confirming the reappointment of Honorable Judith S. Kaye as Chief Judge of the State of New York. Appointed by Governor Cuomo in 1993, Judge Kaye is the first woman to occupy the State Judiciary’s highest office ,and she is the longest serving Chief Judge in New York’s history.
"There have been a few people in my personal and political and professional career who have had a profound impact on my own development and growth. Judge Kaye is one of them," Senator Montgomery said in support of Judge Kaye’s reappointment.
"You are a woman who has been able to rise to a very, very meaningful and powerful position," the Senator said to Judge Kaye. "I’ve watched you, with so much grace, skill and diplomacy, be able to begin to reform our court system, which is akin to an ant turning an elephant.
In addition to being a role model for so many women who aspire to your level of professional greatness, you have taken the time to reach out to women of the Legislature, educating us on the work you are doing, engaging us in public forums, and always welcoming our comments on your court reform proposals. I especially appreciate your inclusion of women lawmakers in this important dialogue."
Senator Montgomery pointed out that, in Brooklyn, Judge Kay has been instrumental in the success of the Red Hook Community Justice Center in her Senate District. The Center combines law and social services to solve community problems and streamline criminal and family court proceedings. It also promotes alternatives to incarceration programs, and provides on-site social and education services.
Montgomery expressed her appreciation to Judge Kaye for all of the help she has offered abused women by creating Domestic Violence (DV) Courts statewide. "The first of these specialized courts was established in Brooklyn in 1996," said Montgomery. Dedicated to enhancing victim safety and holding offenders accountable, DV Courts facilitate access to needed services, ensure intensive judicial monitoring and promote increased coordination between the court, community stakeholders and victim service providers.
Judge Kay’s exemplary service as head of the state court system has been marked with one visionary proposal after another, on such issues as probation system reform, court consolidation, jury duty, no-fault divorce and a host of other worthy initiatives. Among the high-profile majority opinions that Judge Kaye has authored are the landmark 2003 Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) case, which deemed the state’s education funding system unconstitutional; and the 1995 decision allowing adoption in New York by unmarried couples (both heterosexual and homosexual).
In her concluding remarks, Senator Montgomery said, "I am so thankful that I have you to look to and admire as a role model. And I can only look forward to you continuing to be there so we can appreciate your brilliance and your skill and what you’ve brought to New York."