Tribute to Melinda A. Bass
By Joan McNichol
Hon. Melinda Aikins Bass served as WBASNY president during the 1998-1999 term. Among her many leadership skills was Melinda’s understanding of NYS politics and the importance of our legislative efforts on the state level. Melinda knew every bill and issue brought forward by the Legislative Committee and could articulate to the Board the importance of each memo the committee proffered. Melinda also was the president who brought forward the name of Linda Chiaverini for consideration as our Executive Director. We will always be grateful to Melinda for that insight.
Many may not know, but within the first few months of her presidency, Melinda traveled by herself to Washington, D.C. to join with members of the Puerto Rican and Asian Bar Associations to lobby for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to bring forth a confirmation vote for the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, President Clinton’s 1997 nominee for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Sotomayor’s nomination was deliberately stalled in committee for over a year by the Senate Republicans. Melinda’s efforts and her demonstrated commitment to WBASNY’s mission to advance this incredible, highly qualified woman judge from New York made a difference. Judge Sotomayor finally had her vote on the floor and was confirmed to the Second Circuit in October 1998.