Judge Daniel Angiolillo
Justice, Appellate Division,
New York State Supreme Court
New Rochelle, N.Y.
October 1, 2013
First of all … permit me to thank you for the gift of your presence … as well as the generosity of your purse.
So many of you … as I look around the room … have been admirers and supporters of the Judge for a long, long time … and I won’t intrude for very long on your evening.
We’ve come on this beautiful Indian summer night because we need something to believe in. To hold on to. And to be guided by.
Something wiser than our own quick personal impulses and something sweeter than the taste of a political victory.
Our presence here tonight is a tribute not only to a gifted and able jurist. But it is a tribute as well, I think, to what one of the most graceful and articulate of your profession – Mario Cuomo – calls “Our Lady of the Law.”
As the lawyers here assembled know, the Constitution, our more than 200-year-old legacy of law and justice has been the foundation, the rock on which we have built all that is good about America. For more than 200 years “Our Lady of the Law” has proven stronger than the errors or sins or omissions of her acolytes which is what lawyers are and has made us better than we would have been.
But you know all of these things. They teach them in law school. And you practice them every day as officers of the Court.
But you also know and are aware that the law does not apply to every single case or circumstance or even, perhaps, to every day and age. So judges must take a wonderful instrument, the Constitution – or statute or precedent – and try to lay it over and apply it to each case. They must try to fit it to reality.
To work well, the law, in the care and keeping of a judge, has to have the restraint that comes with fairness and it also must have tension to move and bend and be compassionate … firm, but flexible … to deal with each new circumstance.
What qualities, then, should we have a right to expect from the men and women we raise up from among us to interpret and define that Rule of Law:
They must have:
- And compassion.
So where do you find people with such qualities? Where must a governor who appoints them or those who elect them find such people? Not in every lawyer. Or in every judge.
To whom, then, do you entrust the power to restructure families? To take a business or restructure our purse. Who maintains this Rule of Law? What protects it? Not a rifle or a bayonet or a prison cell. Only … only a good mind … accompanied by the precious, sound instinct of a judge who is both wise and good.
We found such an individual (albeit with too many vowels in his name) 14 years ago.
And so here we are now in 2013 with another opportunity to reaffirm our confidence and admiration for an appellate judge with a collegial, compassionate and loving touch, with a gentle heart to interpret the law, but with a firmness and power to apply it.
So, as I mercifully yield, I would ask again: Where do you find these qualities? Not in every lawyer, or even in every judge.
But we found all of it and more in the compassionate and caring heart of Mr. Justice Daniel Angiolillo.
And we must continue his brilliant service … despite the registration numbers, despite the political winds.
There is no Republican … or Democratic … way to interpret or dispense Justice.
We’ve got to re-elect Mr. Justice Dan Angiolillo!
William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington. He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues, and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. He operates two of the last independent stations in the New York area: WVOX and WVIP.
He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files” was released in January, 2011. He is currently working on his fifth book for Fordham University Press, an anthology which will include these remarks about Judge Angiolillo.