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Politics & Government

Shadia Tadros Prepares to Take the City Court Bench as "One of the People"

WAER file photo

Shadia Tadros is preparing to take the bench at Syracuse City Court after earning the most votes in a five-way race for two seats.  WAER News caught up with the judge-elect who was busy starting to wind down her private law practice.

You may remember Tadros from her 2018 run for city court when she came up short in a primary challenge.  The campaign took a toll on her practice, and she spent most of last year building it back up.  Then opportunity came knocking again when a judge retired.  Tadros admits she was hesitant at first, but then realized it was the right time to jump back in.

"When I came along in 2018 and I was shouting from the rooftops about a lot of the issues that actually  came to pass in 2020, my supporters were right there with me and we gained so much more traction and more support.  I think I was before my time in 2018, and that's what excited a lot of people.  In 2020, we saw the nation erupt, and locally."

She says she was probably one of the only local judicial candidates to run on an approved platform…one that focused on criminal justice issues that resonated with city voters amid the racial turmoil of the past year.  Tadros feels she can better address the cries for reform as one of nine judges that have considerable discretion.

"Instead of being able to touch individual lives as a defense attorney, the sheer amount of cases that go through city court allows you the opportunity to touch a lot more lives and to have a bigger impact."

Tadros describes herself as a home grown city kid, a child of immigrants who settled on the south side.  She says people connect with her humble, blue collar roots.

"It's different when you are among the people, one of the people, to then get on the bench and help decide cases for people.  The court is a tribunal of society's values and what they want to see in the community."

She says a lot of her supporters have never personally known a candidate for office. 

"Especially with judge, when you have family, friends, neighbors, that have gone through the criminal justice system, for them to now say they personally know a judge, and she's pretty cool, that makes a huge difference."

While she spends the next few weeks winding down her law practice, Tadros says she’ll also be studying parts of the law she’s not as familiar with.  She’ll also be preparing for two weeks of what she calls "judge school" in January before taking the bench as the first Arab-American to hold elected city office.