Hon. Judith Kaye, former chief judge of the State of New York, delivered the 2010 Claire Flom Memorial Lecture on March 25 at Fordham Law. The title was “Hats Off to Claire Flom and Her Special Vision: Education and the Importance of Being Involved.”
“Education matters,” Kaye said. “Kids, particularly at-risk kids, lacking or denied an education have a distinctly diminished chance of making it in today’s world. Every single one of us can and we must help to make a difference for them.”
Kaye advocated early intervention to improve the lives and educations of children. “A little attention to a problem at its outset can avoid incalculable costs later, and this is nowhere more true than with respect to children,” she said.
“Our laser-beam focus has to include early intervention—preventive measures that reduce the flow of children into courts and detention facilities.”
Throughout her legal career, Kaye has exhibited her commitment to the welfare of children. Among other commitments, she is chair of the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, established in 1988 to improve the lives and life chances of children involved in New York courts.
Appointed to the bench in 1983 by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, Kaye became the first woman to serve on the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. She served as chief judge for 15 years until her retirement in 2008, longer than any other judge in New York state history.