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N.Y. Gov. Hochul, mum on next steps in state’s top judge fight

By 01/30/2023 9:20 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Gov. Hochul has not yet said if she intends to bring legal action against her fellow Democrats for rejecting her choice to lead the state’s judicial branch.

As the governor releases her proposed budget this week and conflicts over spending, taxation, housing, bail, and other issues are heating up, the standoff over the nomination of Hector LaSalle to serve as the top judge of the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, persists.

Despite the possibility of legal action over Senate Democrats’ unwillingness to allow LaSalle a floor vote, Hochul and legislative leaders insist there is no hate.

Even if the governor decides to sue, according to Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-Manhattan), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee that rejected LaSalle, the relationship between Hochul and the Legislature will improve.

Hoylman-Sigal said, “I think it’s a passing storm cloud. Last week, a Republican-backed motion to require a floor vote on the nomination failed.

Political analysts claim that while Hochul may find the budget process a political minefield, she has a chance to establish herself in the future due to the governor’s office’s immense power.

Longtime political analyst Hank Scheinkopf said of the LaSalle problem, “She might, for all we know, be behind the scenes today attempting to negotiate a deal with everybody to put it to bed.”

The alternative is that if she cannot persuade them, she must demonstrate her might.

He said, “A governor without power gets eaten alive.

Hochul is unwavering in her conviction that by rejecting LaSalle in committee rather than allowing an entire floor vote, Senate Democrats violated their constitutional obligations.

It’s unknown what she decides to do after that.

“As governor, it is my authority to act in the state of New York’s best interest following careful consideration and consultation, and I can tell you that I will do just that.

Supporters of LaSalle are considering filing a lawsuit, accusing Senate Democrats of failing to uphold their duties.

The Court of Appeals has not explicitly stated that it had accepted the Senate’s denial, which complicates issues.

LaSalle’s nomination could still be withdrawn by Hochul, who would then be free to select another candidate from the Commission on Judicial Nomination’s to shortlist.

That would appease union presidents, liberal legislators, and reproductive rights organizations who had been critical of LaSalle’s prior decisions and prosecutorial action.

However, LaSalle’s supporters are furious about the situation since, if confirmed, he would have been the first Latino chief judge in New York.

He is now the presiding justice of the Appellate Division in Brooklyn.

With her fellow Democrats holding a veto-proof supermajority in the Legislature, Hochul is turning her attention to the state’s fiscal plan for the upcoming year, but the ongoing confirmation battle hangs large in the background.

Housing, public safety, and mental health have already been stated as priorities by Hochul, who narrowly won a full term in office last November.

Her budget proposal will provide more information on Wednesday.

The governor recently declared that she doesn’t think the legal battle would have a long-lasting impact on the parliamentary session.



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