Lawrence H. Cooke--Albany Law School class of 1938, elected to New York's highest court, and shortly thereafter, under the then new appointment system, elevated to serve as Chief Judge--was a faithful friend to his alma mater and one of its proudest and most esteemed sons. He delivered lectures and spoke to students about the noble callings of the legal profession, urging them at all times: "When in doubt, take the high road." He was an enthusiastic supporter of this law review and, indeed, helped establish our special annual issue, State Constitutional Commentary, and served as its first Chair.
Chief Judge Cooke continues to add luster to the Albany Law Review each year with our annual State Constitutional Commentary Symposium bearing his name, the eleventh of which was held last spring. In addition, the life and career of Chief Judge Cooke have been celebrated in the pages of this law review on several occasions, including in the year 2000, the year of his passing. (1) We again pay tribute to the Chief Judge by leading this issue with a retrospect of his life and legacy. (2)
This publication--the twenty-second edition of State Constitutional Commentary and the eighth edition of New York Appeals--marks the second time that these two special issues have been joined. It is therefore particularly appropriate to open with an article about Lawrence Cooke. He had an immense impact on appellate decision-making in New York State and especially on the case law of the Court of Appeals, as well as on the re-emergence of independent state constitutionalism nationally.
Hence, the New York Appeals half of this issue--which permanently bears the name of Anthony V. Cardona, the beloved late Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department, and 1970 alumnus of our law school (3)--opens with: "The Life and Legacy of Chief Judge Lawrence H. Cooke." (4) Jay Carlisle and Anthony DiPietro remind us "not only [of] an accomplished judge," (5) but of Cooke as "a leader in all aspects of life, a man of integrity, and a being of moral excellence." (6)
Next, Alan Pierce charts the lineage of each of the seven seats on the New York Court of Appeals--an absolutely delightful contribution for those of us who are fascinated by all things related to the state's high court. (7)
David McCraw, vice president and assistant counsel of the New York Times, as well as a 1992 graduate of our law school, critiques recent appellate decisions that raise questions about...