We Care About Our Community

A Celebration Of The Nation's Newest Federal Holiday - Juneteenth!

NYS Primary elections are June 22, 2021.
Freedom is not freely given!

Judge Henry Bramwell

1974, Nominated by President Gerald Ford to the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

Judge Jane Bolin

1931, the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School

Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam

Thank You

Judge James S. Watson

One of the first two Black Americans elected as a judge in the state of New York

Judge George Bundy Smith

1992, Governor Cuomo appointed Smith to Associate Judge of New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals

Judge Harold A. Stevens

1974, the first African-American to serve on the New York Court of Appeals

Judge Lawrence Pierce

The third African-American to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Judge Moxey Rigby

1959, the first African American judge elected in Nassau County

Judge Langston McKinney

1986, became Syracuse’s first African American city judge

Celebration Of Black Judges


“We cannot play ostrich. Democracy just cannot flourish amid fear. Liberty cannot bloom amid hate. Justice cannot take root amid rage. America must get to work. In the chill climate in which we live, we must go against the prevailing wind. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.”

– Thurgood Marshall

2023 JFA Gala Recap

Hon. Deborah Dowling

Judicial Friends 42nd Annual Gala Honoree Video HIghlight-Hon. Deborah A. Dowling, Associate Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department.

Justice Dianne Renwick

Judicial Friends 42nd Annual Gala Honoree Video Highlight-Hon. Dianne Renwick, Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, First Department.

Chief Judge Rowan Wilson

Judicial Friends 42nd Annual Gala Honoree Video Highlight-Chief Judge Rowan Wilson, Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals and of the State of New York.

Why We Should Never Forget Judges Rivers, Toney, and Watson

Judicial Friends Association Celebrates Legacy at 42nd Annual Gala


A Message on Equal Justice to the Judicial Friends Association

The Equal Justice in the Courts Initiative will see the implementation of specific recommendations proposed by former Obama Administration Cabinet member, Jeh Johnson in his report on issues of racial bias within the New York State court system.  This report was commissioned by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, in response to world-wide demonstrations last year, sparked by the  the death of George Floyd which, yet again, protested systemic institutional racism.

Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson has been tasked with the implementation of thirteen distinct recommendations to strengthen and support OCA’s commitment to “combat racism within our courts, and promote a more fair and equitable justice system for all”. Please read her message to JFA to see just how she plans to do that and how you can assist in acheiveing this cardinal principle.


Access to Justice Through Ranked-Choice Voting ?!?

Access to justice is an inclusive and holistic term.  Seeking “Access to Justice”, in the American context, thus necessarily includes any conversation dealing with one of the means historically used to deny justice to so many.  That is, and has been, denying the unprotected-many the ability to vote and disenfranchising those of them who were previously registered to vote.  Beginning on June 22, 2021, New York City will instituted “Ranked-Choice Voting” in its primary elections for many of its elected positions.   Ranked-Choice Voting ask the voter to pick their preferred candidate, then choose/rank up to the next four candidates, in descending order, they would support if their candidate does not win.    The apparent hope of those instituting this change is that it will prompt candidates to address the issues of concern to a broader electorate and prompt a weary and forgotten electorate to be more engaged in the electoral process. Please view this webinar for more information on how the process will work!


Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced

In 2020 the Nation celebrated 100 years of women’s suffrage with the theme, “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced.” This year, due to the pandemic, that theme has been extended.

We acknowledge that 101 years ago Black women were excluded from voting. This month we feature two women, sisters who have retired from the Appellate Court bench; New York State’s own, Justice L. Priscilla Hall, Appellate Division, 2nd Department and her sister, Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall, Illinois Appellate Court.

We celebrate the Hall sisters as they share their experiences on and off the bench.

We hope you enjoy this moment in history! (Enjoy the video).


The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity

The 2021 theme for Black History Month is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”. The Tingling family has been featured because they hold the august distinction of having three successive generations preside over matters in various courts in the State of New York. Justice Genine Edwards interviewed Judge Aijah Tingling and her father, Justice Milton A. Tingling, retd. They spoke about the trails they continue to blaze - Justice Tingling is the first, and only, African American County Clerk and Commissioner of Jurors in the entire State; discussed their indirect paths to the legal field and the bench - despite their legacy; and, shared treasured and sage advice passed down by Judge Milton F. Tingling, dec. 1987.

We hope you enjoy this moment in history! (Enjoy the video).

Issue Awareness & Advocacy

JFA promotes educational activities in the law for the purposes of improving the understanding of the law through seminars, published materials and lectures.

Community Support & Engagement

JFA members support public understanding of and access to the legal system, assist attorneys, and train newly appointed and elected justices and judges.

Youth Development

JFA mentors law students, provides internships and scholarships, and educates the community to build  confidence in our court system.

What’s Happening