Brooklyn Surrogate's Court 2005

Keep up to date with the latest Newspaper and Internet articles on this year's Brooklyn Surrogate Court race

Friday, September 06, 1996

Surrogate's Court Primaries (endorsements)

New York Times - Editorial - September 6, 1996

Surrogate's Court Primaries

Next Tuesday's Democratic primary elections for the obscure but powerful post of Surrogate's Court judge in Manhattan and Brooklyn have sparked intense competition and bitter debates over personality and patronage. Voters need to decide which of the candidates have the best mix of integrity, expertise, judicial temperament and administrative skills for a job that entails overseeing wills, estates and adoptions and dispensing millions of dollars in fees to lawyers acting as executors, guardians and estate trustees.

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The Brooklyn Surrogate's Court has long put the needs of politicians before those of the public. All four candidates vow to clean up the place. But only State Supreme Court Justice Michael Feinberg has strong credentials. Justice Feinberg had extensive experience as a private lawyer in the Surrogate's Court before becoming a Civil Court judge and Supreme Court justice. He has a clear grasp of the court's problems and could do a better job than his three opponents -- Howard Lasher, who capped his lackluster career in the State Assembly by becoming a lackluster member of the City Council, and two undistinguished Civil Court judges, Lila Gold and Ferne Goldstein.

Justice Feinberg has promised reforms ranging from a panel to screen appointments and recommend changes in how the place is run, down to keeping the office open at lunchtime as a convenience to the public. But his ardent backing by the Democratic county organization, which wants to retain its patronage jobs and fees, is disquieting. With some wariness we endorse Justice Feinberg on the basis of his good record, and trust that he will stay true to his reform pledges.