Author:McIver, Robert
Position:Tribute to New York Court of Appeals Judge Victoria Graffeo - Testimonial

In November of 2000, Judge Victoria Graffeo was nominated to the Court of Appeals of New York. Upon her unanimous confirmation, she became the third woman to serve on the court, joining Chief Judge Kaye and Senior Associate Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick. Prior to her appointment, Judge Graffeo served as a justice on the Appellate Division, Third Department, and also as the New York State Solicitor General. For the past fourteen years, Judge Graffeo has provided the court with a thoughtful and insightful jurisprudential approach, and produced countless opinions that have provided clarity and guidance to the courts and practitioners of New York.

In addition to these tireless efforts, Judge Graffeo has made remarkable contributions to New York State court administration. These contributions include the recent fifty-hour pro bono requirement, which gives aspiring law students a unique opportunity to gain valuable experience, but more importantly serves as a catalyst for providing valuable legal services to our state's underserved individuals in need of legal representation and advice. Her efforts have been monumental and will be enduring in providing equal justice across our state.

Judge Graffeo is a particularly appropriate dedicatee for the State Constitutional Commentary issue of the Albany Law Review, not only for her efforts in statewide court administration, but also in her perceptive and discerning opinions construing our state's statutes and constitution. Judge Graffeo's opinions constantly display a central theme: an astute awareness of New York's unique legal history, traditions, and policies.

Judge Graffeo's opinions demonstrate her meticulous and thoughtful approach. Perhaps no judge in recent history has devoted a greater effort to determining the plain and logical meaning of statutes. Judge Graffeo's opinions often display a willingness to thoroughly examine the nuanced language of statutes. (1) Her intensive research routinely delves into legislative histories and advisory committee notes in order to be absolutely certain of legislative intent. (2) These tireless efforts not only lead to fastidiously crafted opinions that produce clear rules of law, but also demonstrate the important role of the judiciary as the dutiful interpreter of law. Indeed, Judge Graffeo's opinions lead by example for future practitioners and judges endeavoring to determine the correct outcome of their cases.

In addition to her tremendous holdings and...

To continue reading