ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– Judge Hector LaSalle was nominated for New York’s top judge position by Governor Kathy Hochul. This sparked concerns among some members in her own party, who said he was too conservative. On Wednesday, his nomination was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
New York Constitution expert and lawyer, Christopher Bopst, explained the significance of Wednesday’s hearing outcome.
“This was the first time that a nominee did not actually get a floor vote,” said Bopst.
He said some argue that a provision in the constitution giving the legislature authority to set its own rules allows the Senate committee to kill the nomination. Others believe that certain language in the constitution and Judiciary Law requires confirmation or rejection by the entire Senate in a floor vote, not just a committee vote.
In a statement, Hochul said in part, “Several senators stated how they were going to vote before the hearing even began— including those who were recently given seats on the newly expanded judiciary committee. While the committee plays a role, we believe the constitution requires action by the full senate.”
There has been talk about Hochul possibly suing. I asked the Governor’s office about this, but was referred to her statement.
Senator Hoylman-Sigal was asked by reporters about this on Wednesday and whether the Senate would do the same if a lawsuit were to happen.
“I wouldn’t know the answer to that, but I hope that litigation is not our future, which again, it’s obviously the Governor’s decision,” said Hoylman-Sigal. “But we have so much work to do in Albany to be distracted by a lawsuit.”