Judge Bernard S. Meyer: First Merit Appointee to the New York Court of Appeals

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Judge Bernard S. Meyer: First Merit Appointee to the New York Court of Appeals
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Judge Bernard S. Meyer: First Merit Appointee to the New York Court of Appeals

Vincent R. Johnson

75 Alb. L. Rev. 963 (2012).

    This is the story of Judge Bernard S. Meyer’s exhilarating, exhausting, and highly productive first year on the New York Court of Appeals.  Based on a reputation for integrity and a record of professional accomplishment, Judge Meyer was chosen to the New York Court of Appeals in 1979, and the following seven-and-a-half years he spent there were highly productive.  While on the Court of Appeals, Judge Meyer was a progressive reformer, and it was clear he intended to use his office to make the world a better place and, whenever possible, remedy injustice.  He looked for ways in which the law could be improved and sought to identify important legal questions that had not yet been settled.  He was eager to resolve unanswered legal issues in ways that were consistent with progressive approaches to public policy and a liberal view of important constitutional principles.  Judge Meyer was not afraid to use the law to aid those who needed help most, and he did so often.  He was meticulous and precise in all things legal, and fully measured up to the best standards of the Anglo-American judicial tradition.  His performance was exactly what responsible citizens would have hoped for from the first merit appointee to the New York Court of Appeals.

Keywords: Judge Bernard S. Meyer, New York Court of Appeals, merit appointee, civil libertarian, judicial activist, legislative history, New York Supreme Court Justice, fair trial, free press, American Bar Association, Pattern Jury Instructions-Civil.

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