Judge Marilyn Hall Patel: A Dedication

By Treanor, William Michael | Fordham Urban Law Journal, January 2007 | Go to article overview

Judge Marilyn Hall Patel: A Dedication


Treanor, William Michael, Fordham Urban Law Journal


This issue of the Fordham Urban Law Journal presents the Fordham Law School symposium, "Rethinking Judicial Selection: A Critical Appraisal of Appointive Selection for State Court Judges." The extraordinary collection of professors, scholars, judges, attorneys, and policy-makers who gathered at Fordham Law in April 2006 examined how we select judges for their posts, powerfully contributing to the ongoing debate about whether judges should be elected or appointed and insightfully examining both classic and new models for appointment. The papers presented grapple with an issue that is both timely and of the most fundamental importance to our legal system. I am confident that this symposium will profoundly influence thinking about judicial selection in the years to come.

At the core of our discussion of how we select judges, one goal remains crucial--that regardless of how we select judges, we must ensure that we select great judges. The judiciary protects the values we prize most as a society. The judges who sit on the bench are the guardians of our liberties and they protect our democratic processes. Theirs is a critical role in the preservation and protection of the rule of law. Their integrity and their ability are of vital importance.

As we publish this collection of articles and essays written by those endeavoring to establish the very best ways to select judges, it is only fitting that we dedicate this book to a judge who stands as one of the nation's finest examples of what it means to serve in this noble office.

Appointed to the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California in 1980, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel became Chief Judge in 1997. She stepped down from that post in 2004, after superbly guiding the court for seven years, and she continues to serve as an active judge on the court today. A graduate of Fordham Law School, she has been a pioneer for women in the judiciary, the first woman to serve as a judge in the Northern District of California and the first woman to hold the position of Chief Judge in that district. …

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