American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review - Volume 56


Used by permission.


When I became Chief Judge of New York State in 2009, I was struck by the fact that there was no short- or long-term plan for access to justice in our state. In fact, there was no plan at all. While our most fundamental mission was ensuring equal justice for all, I was taken aback that neither the Judiciary, the profession, nor the government in New York State was sufficiently focused on this fundamental goal for the justice system. I determined that my most important task as Chief Judge would be to seek to ensure that every single person in New York would get their day in court regardless of the amount of money in their pockets, their economic status, or the color of their skin. I took to heart the iconic words of Judge Learned Hand, “Though shalt not ration justice,”1 and knew that I had my work cut out for me.