"Judges may now be more inclined than ever to decide cases or make patronage appointments in ways that please party officials," the newspaper stated on September 23 of that year. A month later, on October 31, the paper repeated its blast at Friedman, then still more than two years away from his indictment on corruption charges.
"Since political leaders choose the candidates for apathetic voters to ratify at election time, only party loyalists have a chance to get on the bench. But once there, supporters of the system have long argued, staying there requires only decent performance, not continuing kowtowing to the pols. No more," the Times' editorialists wrote.
One of them, District Leader Elizabeth Rose Daly, from downtown Brooklyn, has also called on Norman to allow the way judges are currently selected to be discussed.
"Confidence in the judiciary is one of the underpinnings of our democratic system of government and right now, public trust in the Brooklyn judicial selection system has been seriously eroded," wrote Daly in a February 26 letter to Norman. "We must objectively examine our practices, or suffer the consequences of others doing so without our participation, because they see us as running a sham operation."