(by Libby Hubbard, LWV Huntington former President, LWVNYS)
Progress toward a major goal of a venerable Action Item appears achievable, beginning in the 2019 session of the new State Legislature and that is Court Simplification. The LWVNYS has worked for this since the 1950s – yes the 1950s!
Along the way, we have had important successes in improving how the state court system functions and serves the public-Merit Selection of the Court of Appeals, centralized financing and administration of the courts and establishing the Commission on Judicial Conduct, but reducing the number of separate trial courts from 11 to 3 has so far eluded us.
I’ll only cite one reason among many why this particular goal is so important: the Family Court, where women and children have critical parts of their lives determined, is a “lower” court and receives many more cases but much less funding than the “higher” Supreme Court, which deals with wealthier clients and their civil cases. If they were one and the same court, this would not be the case.
The State League (and the LWVNYC) are members of a growing Coalition, led by The Fund for Modern Courts, which will work on passage of a Constitutional Amendment to finally bring court simplification to NYS. The Chief Judge of the State and the major Bar Associations will be at our side.