Justice Eugene M. Fahey pledged Monday to continue to work "without fear or favor" to uphold the fairness of the state's judicial system as he took took the oath for his second 14-year term on the state bench.
Fahey, 59, told a standing-room-only crowd at his noontime swearing-in ceremony in the ceremonial courtroom at Erie County Hall in downtown Buffalo that he will continue to do his best as a "gatekeeper of justice" on the State Supreme Court's Rochester-based Appellate Division Fourth Department.
State Court of Appeals Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. administered the oath of office to Fahey as the recently re-elected judge's wife, Colleen, and their daughter Ann, 15, stood alongside. The large crowd included Fahey's father, retired Buffalo police Capt. Eugene F. Fahey.
Fahey paid homage to his late mother, Barbara, a longtime Buffalo Board of Education office worker.
Attendees included two dozen of his judicial colleagues, including Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny and appellate colleagues Samuel Green, Salvatore Martoche and Erin Peradotto.
Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, a longtime friend and fellow South Buffalo native, praised the judge as his "mentor" when both were on the Buffalo Common Council two decades ago.
Fahey was first elected to a 14-year term on State Supreme Court in November 1996. In December 2006, by gubernatorial appointment, he went to work at the Appellate Division Fourth Department, which presides over all courts east to Utica.
In a ten-candidate race for five seats on the state court last month, Fahey finished second only to second-term Justice Kevin M. Dillon.
A gifted musician who plays guitar with "The Jazz Men" jazz ensemble and the "Large Marvin" rock group, Fahey jokingly lamented the fact that gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino's dog Duke attracted more media attention recently than any judicial candidate statewide.
Martoche drew warm laughter from the crowd in presenting Fahey a small bag of coffee beans in remembrance of the campaign slogan "Use your bean and vote for Gene" that Fahey has been using for the past three decades. Fahey said this fall's campaign would be his last.