Judge Judith S. Kaye was born in Monticello, New York on August 4, 1938. In 1958, she received her B.A. from Barnard College. Kaye then attended New York University Law School where she received her law degree in 1962. From 1969 to 1983, she worked in the law firm of Olwine, Connelly, Chase, O’Donnell and Weyer. She became the firm’s first female partner.
In 1983, she was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to the New York State Court of Appeals, the first woman to serve. She would shortly become the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals.
Kaye served as the Chief Judge of the State of New York; appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo on February 22, 1993, confirmed by the State Senate on March 17, and sworn in on March 23. Kaye was the first woman to hold this rank in the State Judiciary’s highest office. In December 2008 she retired.
Judge Kaye and her husband, Stephen Rackow Kaye, were members of Congregation Shearith Israel. Judge Judith Kaye died on January 7, 2016, at 77 years of age.