Three candidates visit campus – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Three candidates visit campus

Three of the five candidates for New York State Supreme Court in the Seventh Judicial District visited Hobart and William Smith Colleges on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Matt Rosenbaum '86, a Republican, spoke in the Maney Room of Coxe; and Democrats Ellen Yacknin and Kirk Miller spoke to the Campus Democrats later that afternoon in Coxe 8.

They, John Owens, a Republican; and Kevin Finnegan, a Working Families Party candidate, will seek two seats on the court on Nov. 8. The Seventh Judicial District includes Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, Yates, Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe and Steuben counties. Each judge serves a 14-year term and is paid $136,700 annually, according to the League of Women Voters Web site.

Rosenbaum cited two HWS professors as particularly influential in his life: Robert Huff, who taught history and has since retired; and Michael Dobkowski, religious studies. He was a history and religious studies double major, and then attended Boston University Law School.

He was a town council member in Penfield, in Monroe County, from 2000 to 2005, including two years as deputy supervisor, and was appointed to the bench by Gov. Pataki in March.

The incumbent candidate also offered an invitation to any Delta Chi brothers to contact him at the Hall of Justice about sitting in on trials or talking about law school. He described the summary jury trial, a procedure he has found helpful in resolving cases without a prolonged trial and expert witnesses. He told the group some of the cases he's heard are more than a decade old.

Rosenbaum said he thought his HWS education had prepared him well for law school, and said if he could go back and attend any college, he would still return to HWS.


Yacknin, currently a Rochester City Court judge, is a graduate of Grinnell College and Cornell University Law School. She was a litigator with the Greater Upstate Law Project, based in Rochester, for 13 years, and was elected to the city court bench in January 2003. She is a former law clerk for the chief judge of the federal court in Buffalo and Rochester, and has taught at the SUNY-Buffalo School of Law and Jurisprudence.

She cited her many endorsements by labor unions and the dedication their members can provide, and her judicial experience.


Miller is a former locksmith who graduated from Cardoza Law School of Yeshiva University in New York City in 1986. He has been an administrative law judge in New York City, and is the author of a book on litigation.

He said he realized he was unlikely to win; Yacknin said he was running as a favor to the party, so that more votes would be cast for Democrativ candidate. Miller admitted the experience would help get his name better known outside New York City.