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1. THE COURT OF IMPEACHMENT.
Impeachment. The impeachment of public officers is provided for by the Constitution as follows:
The Asssembly shall have the power of impeachment, by a vote of a majority of all the members elected. The Court for the Trial of Impeachments shall be composed of the President of the Senate, the Senators or the major part of them, and the Judges of the Court of Appeals, or the major part of them. On the trial of an impeachment against the Governor or LieutenantGovernor, the Lieutenant-Governor shall not act as a member of the court. .. Before the trial of an impeachment the members of the court shall take an oath or affirmation truly and impartially to try the impeachment according to the evidence, and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of twothirds of the members present. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, or removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under this State; but the party impeached shall be liable to indictment and punishment according to law. (Art. VI., Sec. 13.)
The method of procedure and the trial are similar to that pursued in the Federal Government (see Book I., page 156); but the State Constitution does not state, as does the Federal Constitution, the officers who may be impeached, nor does it limit the grounds for impeachment.
2. THE COURT OF APPEALS.
Organization. This court is the highest court in the State for the decision of legal questions, or as it is called, "the court of last resort," because its decisions are final, except where the Federal Constitution, laws or treaties are involved.
It shall consist of the Chief Judge and the Associate Judges
now in office,
and their successors, who shall be chosen by the electors of the State. The official terms of the Chief Judge and Associate Judges shall be fourteen years from and including the first day of January next after their election. Five members of the court shall form a quorum, and the concurrence of four shall be necessary to a decision. The court shall have power to appoint and to remove its reporter, clerk and attendants. Whenever and as often as a majority of the Judges of the Court of Appeals shall certify to the Governor that said court is unable, by reason of the accumulation of causes pending therein, to hear and dispose of the same with reasonable speed, the Governor shall designate not more than four Justices of the Supreme Court to serve as Associate Judges of Court of Appeals. The Justices so designated shall be relieved from their duties as Justices of the Supreme Court and shall serve as Associate Judges of the Court of Appeals until the causes undisposed of in said court are reduced to two hundred, when they shall return to the Supreme Court. . . . No more than seven Judges shall sit in any case. (Art. VI., Sec. 7.)
The Chief Judge and the six Associate Judges are elected by the voters of the entire State, and hold office for fourteen years. The Chief Judge receives an annual salary of $10,500, and each Associate Judge $10,000, together with $3,700 for expenses.
FILLING VACANCY IN COURT OF APPEALS.-When a vacancy shall occur otherwise than by expiration of term, in the office of Chief or Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, the same shall be filled, for a full term, at the next general election happening not less than three months after such vacancy occurs; and until the vacancy shall be filled, the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, if the Senate shall be in session, or if not in session the Governor may fill such vacancy by appointment. All appointments under this section shall continue until and including the last day of December next after the election at which the vacancy shall be filled. (Art. VI., Sec. 8.)
3. THE SUPREME COURT.
Name and Importance.-The Supreme Court * is retained from the judicial systems established by former Constitutions (see pages 11, 13, 15), and is the most important institution in New York for the administration of justice, because it holds sessions throughout the State, and because of its extensive jurisdiction, which will be considered later.
Judicial Departments and Districts.-The Constitution provides for purposes of justice that:
The Legislature shall divide the State into four judicial departments. The first department shall consist of the county of New York; the others shall be bounded by county lines, and be compact and equal in population as nearly as may be. Once every ten years the Legislature may alter the judicial departments, but without increasing the number thereof. (Art. VI., Sec. 2, Par. 1.)
The State is also divided into nine Judicial Districts, comprising several counties, to which ninety-seven Supreme Court Justices are allotted, as follows:
*The term "Supreme Court" is a survival of the name of the highest law court of the province of New York. However, in state practice it is a misnomer, as most of its decisions of law are not final, but are subject to review by the Court of Appeals, which, though now a distinct judicial tribunal, is, in fact, a development of the function of the legislative branch to pass upon decisions of the judiciary. In colonial times this function was exercised by the governor and his council, and under the first constitution, by the chancellor and senate, in the same way that it is exercised to-day by the English House of Lords. But in federal practice the Supreme Court is considered the highest court of the State, since its judgments are the ones reviewed upon appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States.
But the Legislature may alter the judicial districts once after every enumeration (Art. VI., Sec. 1).
Terms and Salaries of Justices.-The justices of each district are elected by the voters in the district.
The official terms of the Justices of the Supreme Court shall be fourteen years from and including the first day of January next after the election. (Art. VI., Sec. 4.)
Vacancies are filled in the same manner as in the office of Judge of the Court of Appeals.
The salary of a Justice of the Supreme Court is $7,200, including $1,200 for expenses, except in the First District and Kings County, where special compensation is provided by law.
Divisions of Supreme Court.-The Court is divided into two divisions, one with original jurisdiction and the other with appellate. (See Book I., page 162.) In each county there are held at stated intervals "trial" terms of the original branch, at which civil and criminal cases are tried before a Justice of the Supreme Court and a jury, and "special" terms at which are held trials of cases before a Justice without a jury.
Appellate Division.-There shall be an Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, consisting of seven Justices of the first department, and of five Justices in each of the other departments. In each department four shall constitute a quorum, and the concurrence of three shall be necessary to a decision. No more than five Justices shall sit in any case.
From all the Justices elected to the Supreme Court the Governor shall designate those who shall constitute the Appellate Division in each department; and he shall designate the Presiding Justice thereof, who shall act as such during his term of office, and shall be a resident of the department. The other Justices shall be designated for terms of five years, or the unex