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Justice Miriam Cyrulnik takes helm of Kings Inn of Court with tribute to late Hon. Arthur Schack

Chuck Otey's Pro Bono Barrister

July 11, 2016 By Charles F. Otey, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Justice Miriam Cyrulnik. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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Since it was launched back in 2001, the Kings County Nathan Sobel American Inn of Court has become one of the most effective and creative legal associations in the state.

It was founded by Justice Marsha Steinhardt and then-Justices Gerard Rosenberg, Abe Gerges and Edward Rappaport. The creation of Inns of Court in America is usually ascribed to the work of former Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Much of the inn’s success can be attributed to its leadership. Its presidents have followed the pattern established by the Ancient Inns of Court in London more than 800 years ago, with a special emphasis on encouraging collegiality with bench and bar, as well as programs designed to aid newer barristers.

Under new President Hon. Miriam Cyrulnik, the inn is looking forward to one of best Continuing Legal Education-accredited terms.

Hon. Cyrulnik is known for her legal scholarship and courtroom demeanor. Within the Kings County Inn, she is regarded as one of the leading performers in the courtroom dramas and law office re-enactments that depict points of law and everyday practice drawn from fantasy and actual trials, many of which are still fresh in public memory.

The Kings Inn — based on the observations of this writer, who has served as its town crier for most of its history — is singular in that jurists and barristers take time to meet, rehearse and prepare. They are not wont to recite verbatim from pre-framed scripts.

Inn President Hon. Cyrulnik Pays Tribute to Late Justice Schack

The new president is already admired for the tactful respectful manner in which she, as president-elect, led the inn in mourning when President Arthur Schack died two months ago. In was, in truth, the inn’s most challenging moment.

A larger-than-life presence, Hon. Schack was a brilliant and often unconventional jurist, whose presidency started out with great promise and the expectation that he would encourage agendas that would stir excitement and discussion.

Yet, it was clear early on that his treatments for a form of cancer were taking a greater and greater toll. Nevertheless, his death shocked the legal community and saddened his hundreds of friends and admirers here in Brooklyn.

President-elect Cyrulnik offered very appropriate words of comfort as she chaired the first inn meeting without him. We asked her to expand on her very poignant observations, and she graciously sent the Pro Bono Barrister the following message:

“Simply say the name Justice Arthur Schack and words like these come to mind: smart, fearless, principled, funny, kind and compassionate. It’s easy to understand why his unexpected passing so affected his friends and colleagues throughout the Brooklyn legal community and beyond. His loss was keenly felt in many circles and particularly so at the Nathan R. Sobel Inn of Court.

“Justice Schack was in the middle of his term as president of the inn; he had moved up through the leadership ranks over the years and this position represented the culmination of years of participation. As a master of the inn, he co-chaired one of our eight working groups and, over the years, presented informative and entertaining programs on cutting-edge issues in the law. He enjoyed the many opportunities that inn membership provides for social interaction between lawyers and judges, and he was an enthusiastic mentor to the young lawyers within our ranks.

“And when our programs concluded, as they always do, with a question-and-answer session, Justice Schack could always be counted on to take an active role in the discussion, offering not just his own opinion, but alerting us to the most recent appellate case on the issue. Justice Schack, described by one longtime friend as a ‘Renaissance Man,’ was possessed of a keen intellect. Whether the topic was law, politics or baseball, he knew it, and he knew it well!

“The masters and members of the inn were shocked and saddened by Justice Schack’s untimely passing. How much more he would have brought to the inn had he been able to conclude his presidency! We look on the event with true regret, as it has deprived us of not just a legal scholar and teacher, but of a good and true friend.”

The Kings Inn will once again tackle some challenging issues at its first session in September. New officers, working with President Cyrulnik are President-elect Hon. Sylvia Hinds-Radix, a former Kings County administrative justice; Counselor Victoria Lombardi; Treasurer Justice Carl J. Landicino; and Secretary Joseph Rosato. Inn administrator is Lucinda Di Salvo, with Jeff Feldman serving as executive director.

As She Weathers More Political Storms, It Seems That Only Donald Trump Can Save Hillary Clinton

At this point, Hillary Clinton should be extremely grateful that her Republican opponent is the egomaniacal Donald Trump.

A master of deception and bilious bombast, he’s convinced that his childish screams of “Liar! Liar!” and “Crooked Hillary” constitute a political platform that will place him in the White House next year.
Most Americans believe, despite her crisis-ridden campaign, that Mrs. Clinton will be elected this November.

Some of her supporters may disagree, but it’s clear that Ms. Clinton is overladen with a quarter-century of political and personal baggage. She is truly fortunate that FBI Director John Comey courageously and professionally defied a Republican-led congressional panel earlier this week by laying out logically and coherently why Mrs. Clinton did not commit a crime despite repeated misuse of her email program.

Then-Sen. Barack Obama was right on point when he sheepishly proclaimed her “likeable enough” during one of their televised debates. Now even that qualified estimate is being called into review.

Her ace in the hole is the sustaining rationale that Trump is a fool and that, if elected, he is certain to recreate a Scalia-like Supreme Court, which would gleefully reaffirm cases such as Consumers United which, day by day, sucks more and more of the life out of our troubled democracy.

Mrs. Clinton has been forced to reinvent herself several times since she first got involved with Bill Clinton, the initial iteration being the dutiful, loyal wife during the blatant and degrading Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Despite her total lack of spontaneity and relentless sense of entitlement, I believe that she is one of the most talented presidential candidates of this modern era.

She’s experienced, smart, (usually) politically savvy and, when she’s not stretching the truth to get out of self-created messes, possesses the grit, knowledge and ability to lead this nation through troubling times. Trump has none of these assets.
Does she still have the “women’s vote?” A qualified “yes.”

Will she appoint Supreme Court justices who are qualified, impartial and not driven by narrow and often mean motives? Yes.

Growing more significant each day is her ability to connect, in a real way, with black voters, who have witnessed a seemingly endless flow of racially oriented killings by police officers.

Donald Trump Actually Holds Americans in Contempt

With a ranting, hate-mongering Trump who daily undermines the state of our union, babbling “It’s terrible, “They’re all crooked” and “Wall Street is out to rob you,” it seems a part of our national fabric has been ripped away, fomenting blind outrage and encouraging disrespect for our entire society, helping pave the path to the brutal slaying of five white officers in Dallas.

Anyone who thinks Trump has any idea of the truth, please take close note when “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” — thanks to a personal invitation from the candidate — will be a major speaker as the Republican Party leaders gather in fear — and some, even shame — to officially declare Trump their presidential candidate.

To those who justify his repulsive rhetoric and argue that Trump loves this country, I say, listen closely and you’ll hear a man full of infantile rage, greed and hate who has ripped off our most vulnerable people who respect this nation — people who have a sense of honor, who pay their bills and show up every day to do their jobs in the hope that the promise that is America is still alive for them and their children.

These people are despised and used by Trump. He sees them as suckers, though many of them don’t know it. Yet.


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