ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– Just days after Justice Hector LaSalle’s nomination for Chief Judge didn’t pass the Senate Judiciary Committee, uncertainty remains on exactly what the next steps will be in the process to fill the position.
While some like Governor Kathy Hochul believe LaSalle’s nomination should have gone to a floor vote, others say that the judiciary committee had the power to reject the nomination itself.
When asked on Thursday if she was going to file a lawsuit, Hochul told reporters she was weighing all options.
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins stated, “This ongoing attack makes it clear there are those that don’t accept the Senate’s role in this process, and will not be happy unless we simply act as a rubber stamp. This is a dangerous infringement of the separation of powers. More and more people are waking up to the importance and impacts of the courts based on the events of the past year.”
Hochul’s nomination for LaSalle prompted concerns within her own party. Some lawmakers such as Senate Judiciary Chair, Brad Hoylman-Sigal, believe LaSalle is too conservative for the position.
The Evangelical Christian organization, New Yorker’s for Constitutional Freedoms, think Hoylman-Sigal should step down as chair because they believe his personal feelings are getting in the way of his ability to serve.
“LaSalle, I believe is a Democrat, but he like many judges, was endorsed by many political parties when he ran for election to the New York State Supreme Court. And in 2008, Justice LaSalle was endorsed by the Conservative party,” said Stephen Hayford, Legislative Director for New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms. “This was 15 years ago. During the hearing, Senator Hoylman-Sigal, stated how hurtful it was that Justice LaSalle had received that endorsement and after the hearing, he stated his view that it was disqualifying.”
The New York State Bar Association has announced it is appointing a special committee on The Selection of Judges for the Court of Appeals, which will examine the process and make recommendations to the governor and legislature.