In 1983, Judith S. Kaye (1938–2016) became the first woman appointed to the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. Ten years later, she became the first woman to be appointed chief judge of the xourt, and by the time she retired, in 2008, she was the longest-serving chief judge in the court's history. During her long career, she distinguished herself as a lawyer, jurist, reformer, mentor, and colleague, as well as a wife and mother. Bringing together Kaye's own autobiography, completed shortly before her death, as well as selected judicial opinions, articles, and speeches, Judith S. Kaye in Her Own Words makes clear why she left such an enduring mark upon the court, the nation, and all who knew her.
The first section of the book, Kaye's memoir, focuses primarily on her years on the Court of Appeals, the inner workings of the court, and the challenges she faced, as chief judge, in managing a court system populated by hundreds of judges and thousands of employees.
The second section, a carefully chosen selection of her written opinions (and occasional dissents), reveals how she guided the law in New York State for almost a quarter century with uncommon vision and humanity. Her decisions cover every facet of New York and federal law and have often been quoted and followed nationally.
The final section of the book includes selections from her numerous articles and speeches, which cover the field, from common law jurisprudence to commercial law to constitutional analysis, all with an eye to the future and, above all, how the law can best affect the everyday lives of people who come to court—willingly or unwillingly—including, not least, those most in need of the law.
"An extraordinary woman, jurist, and leader who had a striking impact on the law and the administration of justice in New York State and beyond. This collection is more than a simple record of a remarkable life. It is a treasure—not only for those of us who knew and admired Judith but for all who may seek to understand and appreciate the profound impact she had on the law, the legal profession, and the administration of justice." — from the Foreword by Honorable Janet DiFiore