Robert S. Smith
|Robert S. Smith|
|Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals|
January 12, 2004 – December 31, 2014
|Appointed by||George Pataki|
|Preceded by||Richard C. Wesley|
August 31, 1944 |
New York City, New York
|Alma mater||Stanford University
Columbia Law School
Robert Sherlock Smith (born August 31, 1944) is a former Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. Smith retired on December 31, 2014, due to the State Constitution's requirement that judges retire at the end of the calendar year in which they reached the age of 70.
Early life and education
Smith was born in New York City in 1944, and grew up in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He graduated from Stanford University in 1965 and from Columbia Law School in 1968, where he was editor-in-chief of the law review.
From 1968 to 2003 he practiced law in New York City with the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, taking a one-year leave of absence in 1980-81 to serve as Visiting Professor from Practice at Columbia Law School.
In private practice, Smith was best known for representing a shopping center in a case, Shad Alliance v. Smith Haven Mall, that established that the right of free speech does not apply in shopping centers; for representing United Airlines' pilots' union in its attempt to take over United Airlines; and for arguing two death penalty appeals before the United States Supreme Court.
Court of Appeals
In October 2011, Smith gave the keynote address at the Seventh Annual Friedrich A. von Hayek Lecture, "The Hayekian Judge," sponsored by New York University Journal of Law and Liberty. He was introduced by Richard Epstein.
- He wrote a plurality opinion in Pataki v. Silver, upholding the Governor's power over the state budget.
- He wrote a dissent in People v. LaValle, in which the majority ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional.
- On July 6, 2006, Smith wrote the main opinion in Hernandez v. Robles, a 4-2 decision, declaring that same-sex marriage in New York was not constitutionally required, and was to be left to the legislature. Chief Judge Judith Kaye wrote the dissent.
- On October 23, 2007, in People v. Taylor, he chose to side with the majority in upholding People v. LaValle,  on the grounds of stare decisis.
Smith became a partner in New York City law firm Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP on January 1, 2015, one day after retiring from the Court of Appeals.
- "Judge Robert S. Smith of the New York Court of Appeals to Join Friedman Kaplan". Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP. December 11, 2014. Archived from the original on January 1, 2015.
- (6 October 2002). WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS; Liena Zagare, Benjamin Smith, The New York Times
- NY State Court of Appeals official biography page
- The Independent Jurist: An Analysis of Judge Robert S. Smith's Dissenting Opinions
Richard C. Wesley
|Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals