ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Governor Hochul has chosen Justice Hector D. LaSalle as candidate for Chief Judge to New York’s Court of Appeals, but the decision is already receiving backlash from progressive lawmakers.

The Court of Appeals is known as the most influential court in the country, sometimes more influential than the Supreme Court. Justice LaSalle would be New York’s first Latino judge leading the Court of Appeals if the Senate votes in his favor. Governor Hochul supported her pick on Thursday, “New York’s Court of Appeals has a long history as a beacon of justice, and Judge LaSalle is an outstanding jurist in that tradition. He has the skills, experience, and intellect to ensure that our highest court is seen as a leader across the country.” 

But some Democrats are criticizing the Governor’s choice saying his values are too conservative. Senator Michelle Hinchey tweeted, “While I expressed my support for many other accomplished & experienced Chief Judge candidates, I had also made it clear that I cannot support a nominee who has delivered anti-choice, anti-union rulings. If Hon. LaSalle’s nomination comes to the floor, I will vote no.”

Vincent Bonventre, Professor of Law at Albany Law School says Justice LaSalle may not be as conservative as some think,  “It’s not clear that he actually is a conservative judge, I mean that’s what some of them are saying. I think what is more clear is that he was not one of the more obviously liberal candidates on the list.”

LaSalle’s resume includes Assistant District Attorney for Suffolk County, Assistant Attorney General and Appellate Judge. Bonventre says he is currently presiding justice for the busiest Appellate Court in the country which is in Brooklyn, “Again it is the busiest appellate court and he really has a very, very fine reputation as being a strong leader and a consensus builder and again from the litigants that I know who have argued before him or have worked in some other capacity with him, they give him extremely high marks.” The Senate must come to a consensus within the next 30 days. Reporting in Albany, Amal Tlaige