Hochul faces some tough choices over his rejected chief justice pick. None are good for her.
“You jump ahead in your own analysis,” Hochul said after an unrelated event in Albany. “You are making an assumption that I have not actually stated, which is that we are going down a certain path. I advise you not to do this because you will all know everything you need to know in due course and in due course. .
But as time goes on, Hochul appears to be dealing with a likely losing battle against progressives and unions that have negated LaSalle’s potential rise as the state’s first Latino chief justice. Opponents said that as a judge he made some rulings that were anti-labor and anti-abortion. LaSalle said that wasn’t true.
After the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his choice, Hochul argued that LaSalle needed a full vote in the 63-member Senate. The senators said no: The Judiciary Committee’s vote is where the problem ends.
Legal experts are divided on whether Hochul would win a lawsuit over it.
Jerry Goldfeder, a prominent Democratic election attorney, wrote Monday that the state constitution specifies that the governor’s nominee for the Court of Appeals needs a vote in the Senate, saying it “requires the notice and consent of the “Senate” and not of any of its committees.
Others have suggested that “notice and consent” may end with the commission.
Even a successful process to get LaSalle’s nomination off the ground would put Hochul back in the same spot: She’s not expected to have enough votes among Senate Democrats to support him, meaning he’d just be rejected again .
Hochul would not give in to this scenario.
“As governor, it is my prerogative to do what is best for the people of New York State after careful analysis and deliberation — and I assure you this is my guiding star. “, she said.
Senator Jamaal Bailey was the only Democrat on the Judiciary Committee to vote to move LaSalle’s nomination without a recommendation — meaning he was ready to come forward, but didn’t vote for it either. Bailey said he feels “comfortable” with his voice, but he hasn’t thought about what the future holds.
“The committee has decided what it has decided. I think the following decisions should ultimately be made by the governor and leadership of what happens,” said Bailey, a Democrat from the Bronx.
LaSalle supporters, including former Chief Justice Jonathan Lippman, have advanced several arguments challenging the legitimacy of the committee’s decision, including the claim that Senate Democrats’ formal rejection letter signed by Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins should have been signed by the Lieutenant Governor. Antonio Delgado, who is the President of the Senate under the constitution.
Stewart-Cousins rejected that argument, along with the idea that LaSalle deserved extra attention from the Senate after his five-hour hearing last Wednesday.
“I’m not arguing over who signed the letter or not,” she told reporters on Tuesday. “What happened was there weren’t enough votes to get the candidate to speak. The candidate has therefore failed.
Stewart-Cousins said she was “not concerned” that a stalemate over a potential lawsuit would derail upcoming budget negotiations between the governor and legislature, saying both sides have shown they are “at a professional level kept communicating”.
“I have a good relationship with the governor,” she said. “We all do it. So we can disagree, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do the work people sent us to do.
But when asked if she had personally spoken to Hochul since LaSalle’s rejection and its fallout, Stewart-Cousins said no.
There are other options for Hochul.
She was able to simply withdraw LaSalle’s nomination and choose from six other nominees recommended by the state’s Judiciary Nominating Committee, giving her another shot at getting Senate approval after a number of lawmakers expressed support for a few others on the list.
Or the Court of Appeals could decide it has no chief justice and ask the committee to go through a month-long process to select new candidates for Hochul to consider. Currently, the court has six members, which could impair its ability to reach consensus over an extended period of time.
Again, Hochul dismissed the turmoil and stuck with LaSalle: “I chose the best person from the list of seven.”
Not all news on the site reflects the site’s point of view, but we automatically transmit and translate this news through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.