Judge Leon Polsky to be Honored by Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program

November 29, 2016

Former Judge of the New York State Court of Claims will be recognized for contributions to the Aspen Institute at Brooklyn Law School on Wednesday, November 30 

Contact: Michael Green
Associate Director
Justice and Society Program, The Aspen Institute
(202) 736-2539 | [email protected]

Washington, DC, Nov. 29, 2016— Leon Polsky, a former Judge of the New York State Court of Claims, will be honored at Brooklyn Law School on Wednesday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. The event is a tribute to Judge Polsky’s contributions to the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program (JSP). In 1997, he created the Polsky Fellows Program, which underwrites participation in JSP’s annual Justice and Society Seminar by at least two jurists of the New York State Courts. Thanks to Judge Polsky’s remarkable generosity, the seminar has reached the milestone of the 50th Polsky Fellow.

Since 1975, the Justice and Society Seminar has hosted distinguished jurists and attorneys at its Rocky Mountain campus. Along with Justice Harry Blackmun, the seminar has been visited by Justice William Brennan, Justice Anthony Kennedy, law school deans, generals, and Fortune 500 general counsel. The seminar seeks to examine the interplay of justice and procedural rules, utilitarian thinking and rights paradigms. Judge Polsky, recognizing that the life of New York trial court judges is “so fast-paced,” wanted “to give them a chance to catch their breath, and think about what drew them to the bench in the first place.”

Linda Greenhouse, the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and a contributing columnist for The New York Times, who attended the seminar in 1981 when Justice Blackmun moderated, will offer remarks to the gathering of Polsky Fellows and their guests.

“It was a chance to grapple with big ideas, and put outside concerns aside for a while” Greenhouse said, recalling that Justice Blackmun asked to be called “Harry,” and his wife “Dottie,” in keeping with the egalitarian outlook of the summer experience.

The Justice and Society Seminar, however, is by no means a vacation. As Justice and Society Program Executive Director Meryl Chertoff notes, the readings are lengthy and complex: “If you are willing to wade through 600 pages of Greek philosophers and political theorists, you are pretty dedicated.”

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

For four decades, the Aspen Institute Justice & Society Program has convened individuals from diverse backgrounds to discuss the meaning of justice and how a just society should balance fundamental rights with the exigencies of public policy, in order to meet contemporary social challenges and strengthen the rule of law. The annual Justice & Society Seminar, held in Aspen and co-founded by the late Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, continues to be led by preeminent judges and law professors. Through our public programming component, we bring to the table public officials, established and emerging opinion leaders, and grass-roots organizers to share their perspectives in a neutral and balanced forum.

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