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Dem-Led NY Senate Rejects Gov’s Top Judge Pick

By 02/16/2023 9:57 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

The Senate rejected the nomination of Gov. Kathy Hochul for the position of state’s top judge on Wednesday, delivering an extraordinary setback to the state’s top Democrat from members of her own party.

After opposition from liberals who wanted Hochul to appoint a judge with a progressive record, the vote rejecting Judge Hector LaSalle as the head of the state Court of Appeals and administrator of New York’s judicial system was passed.

Opponents contested LaSalle’s decisions as a judge on a midlevel appeals court. His supporters claimed that the left was unfairly attacking him and misrepresenting his judicial views.

At first, it seemed unlikely that the entire Senate would even vote on LaSalle, but after a Republican filed a lawsuit demanding a full Senate vote, its leaders changed their minds.

Hochul described LaSalle as “a supremely qualified and gifted judge,” but Hochul stated she would submit a new nomination.

“I am still dedicated to choosing a capable candidate to preside over the court and administer justice.

That’s what the people of New York deserve, she declared in a statement.

According to Senate leaders, the rejection of LaSalle by a panel last month was legitimate.

Yet, they said they moved forward with an entire floor vote to eliminate a pointless diversion as they bargain with the governor over a $227 billion budget.

“We need to pass a budget. Our supreme court needs to be wholly formed. To address this situation, we are bringing this issue to the Senate floor today, Democratic Senator Michael Gianaris stated.

LaSalle watched from the gallery as the Senate voted down his nomination from 20 to 39. Democrats rejected LaSalle with a resounding majority.

The Senate Judiciary Committee decided earlier in the day to send the judge’s nomination to the entire Senate for consideration after a second round of consideration.

Sen. Anthony Palumbo, the committee’s top Republican, says in a complaint that the state constitution does not grant the panel final say. The complaint aimed to compel the judge to cast a vote.

On the floor on Wednesday, Palumbo accused Democrats of playing political games by attempting to make the court issue irrelevant.

He said he would continue the lawsuit scheduled for a Friday argument. Later, Palumbo expressed his hope that the case would establish a legal principle that “nominations ought to be put to the floor regardless of whether a party is in power.”

Hochul chose LaSalle as the first Latino to preside over the seven-member supreme court.

She oversees one of the four state appellate districts.

His record as an appellate judge, according to progressive groups, labor leaders, and liberal senators, is too conservative for such a powerful position.

LaSalle’s supporters claim that his detractors wrongly characterize his beliefs based on a small number of examples to usher in a more liberal judge.

They are not looking for someone who will uphold the law. They are looking for someone who will interpret the law by their preferences.

During the discussion, Republican Senator Steven Rhoads stated that this is not what a judge should be doing.

LaSalle was described as “a plain-old liberal Democrat” by Palumbo to senators.

Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said she spoke with Hochul on the phone, and they had a pleasant conversation.

She said that Democrats are dedicated to collaborating with the governor on the next nominee.

Democratic Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal remarked on the floor, “I think we have concluded that we can find a better nominee who can lead this court, and we need to do it Promptly.”




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