Moses M. Weinstein

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Moses M. Weinstein (July 8, 1912 New York City - November 30, 2007 Pembroke Pines, Broward County, Florida) was an American lawyer and politician.

Name[edit]

He was born Morris Weinstein without middle initial. A playbill for a production at Brooklyn College added erroneously the middle initial, and a mistaken inscription of his degree at Brooklyn Law School changed Morris to Moses which name he adopted henceforth.

Life[edit]

He was the son of a tailor, and grew up on the Lower East Side, Manhattan. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School at 15, but it took him seven years and a dozen jobs to work his way through college and law school.

In 1941, he married Muriel Marshall (d. 2006). They had three sons who all graduated from Brooklyn Law School too: Jeremy Weinstein, a New York Supreme Court justice and former State Senator, Jonathan Weinstein, and Peter Weinstein, a Circuit Court judge in Broward County, Fla.

In World War II, he was an infantry corporal and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

He was a member from Queens County of the New York State Assembly from 1959 to 1969, was Majority Leader from 1965 to 1968, and as such became Acting Speaker for the remainder of the term upon the resignation of Speaker Anthony J. Travia after the close of the legislative session of that year.

He was Chairman of the Queens Democratic Party from 1962 to 1969, and was Majority Leader of the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1967.

In August 1968, Weinstein, who as Acting Speaker was fourth in line for the governorship, became Acting Governor for 10 days when Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, Lt. Gov. Malcolm Wilson and Senate Majority Leader Earl W. Brydges went to the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida.

Weinstein was an ally of Mayor of New York Robert F. Wagner in the early 1960s and had a good relationship with Governor Rockefeller. Weinstein sponsored measures that created the Urban Development Corporation and the Crime Victims Compensation Board, reformed divorce and welfare laws, established a consumer bill of rights, increased aid for air-pollution controls and Regents scholarships, and promoted hospital expansion. He supported rent controls, veterans rights, aid to small businesses and antidiscrimination laws.

In 1969, he was elected to a 14-year term as a New York State Supreme Court justice in Queens. In a 1973 case, acknowledging he might be violating the law, he vacated the three-year term of a woman convicted of selling drugs, noting that she had terminal cancer and less than a year to live.

In 1980, he was appointed to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, with jurisdiction over Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and seven suburban counties. He participated in rulings that threw out unjust convictions, invalidated school financing based on property taxes and decided many other controversies. He left the bench in 1989 after reaching the mandatory retirement age.

He died at the Memorial Hospital in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Sources[edit]

  • [1] Obit in NYT on December 3, 2007, with photo
  • [2] Political Graveyard
  • [3] Mourning notice by Brooklyn Law School, in NYT on December 4, 2007
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Bernard Dubin
New York State Assembly, Queens County 7th District
1959–1965
Succeeded by
District abolished
Preceded by
New district
New York State Assembly, 24th District
1966
Succeeded by
Seymour Boyers
Preceded by
Frederick Schmidt
New York State Assembly, 25th District
1967–1969
Succeeded by
Emanuel Gold
Political offices
Preceded by
George L. Ingalls
Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly
1965–1968
Succeeded by
John E. Kingston
Preceded by
Anthony J. Travia
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Acting

1968
Succeeded by
Perry B. Duryea, Jr.