Some elections offer such a clear choice it is hard to believe anyone could miss it.
Such is the case in the Democratic Party primary for Surrogate Court Justice, a position that deals largely with estate and property law, as well as adoptions. Two Democrats with names well known in Rockland politics are heading off: Keith Cornell and Legislator Alden Wolfe.
Cornell has the character and disposition of a judge, as well as years and years of legal experience in the fields the position deals with, while Wolfe is amongst the most unreasonable and egocentric persons to have descended upon Rockland politics in recent years.
During this very campaign Wolfe has faced claims of threatened payback by Democrats who have not endorsed him. From our own experience at the Rockland County Times, when minor headlines have appeared in this newspaper not to his liking, he has reacted irrationally and vindictively.
As a legislator he has frequently displayed that he does not know how to do his own job, constantly overrates his own importance and can be relied on to inappropriately infringe on the space of others. He is perhaps most famous for howling, “Who says the county hospital needs to [be affordable],” as Rockland County sunk deeper and deeper into debt. At that point the hospital was losing over $10 million per year for the county.
Shocking reports of Wolfe’s behavior include him publicly getting on both knees in the County Legislative Chambers to demonstrate his disregard for County Official Stephen Powers and County Executive Ed Day. This only a year after suing Ed Day because the county executive insulted him in the course of a political argument.
Wolfe needs to be kept far away from the bench. He has shown repeatedly he is incapable of being judicious and quite comfortable being judgmental. That is not the right kind of judge. In politics, some bad actors are unwelcome but expected. In the courtroom, they are even less welcome and not expected.
One could even argue that Wolfe’s choice to run for judge demonstrates a lack of self-awareness.
Our endorsement of Cornell is not just a repudiation of Wolfe but also an affirmative embrace of Cornell as a candidate. Mr. Cornell demonstrates every skill, character trait and the experience one would want in a judge. If you met him on the street, you’d probably think to yourself, “Is this man a judge?”
In a hour-long interview earlier this year, he demonstrated impressive knowledge of the position of Surrogate Court justice and the law in general. Due to his qualifications and character, The Rockland County Times extends its endorsement of Cornell through the general election. He is the best candidate in the field.
Wolfe, by contrast, is as bad a candidate for this position as one can imagine. Given his thin skin, lack of temperament and egocentrism, Wolfe should never be allowed to be a judge.