ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State is voting on whether Justice Hector LaSalle should fill the position of Chief Judge of the state’s highest court. Previously, his nomination did not pass a Senate Judiciary hearing.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision to nominate LaSalle was controversial among the Democratic majority. Advocacy groups surprised at LaSalle’s nomination put public pressure on the Senate to reject him; meanwhile, Republicans moved to force the vote beyond the Judiciary by filing a lawsuit.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins send out the following statement before the vote got underway:

“Today, the Senate Majority will once again rise to our leadership responsibilities and end the ongoing distraction of the Justice Hector LaSalle nomination. We maintain that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote on Justice LaSalle’s nomination was a faithful execution of the judicial nomination procedure. The Senate acted constitutionally by following our own set of rules, which as a separate branch of government, we are empowered to create and follow under the State Constitution. Despite being in accordance with our State laws, the outcome of that Judiciary hearing has not been accepted by all members of government. The recent court case brought by Republican Senators proves that prolonging the LaSalle nomination – which never had the requisite votes to pass – is merely a wedge issue to distract us from other pressing matters at hand. We have a state to run. The 2023-2024 $227 billion dollar budget is due in six weeks. Our highest court has no appointed Chief Judge, and we need the court system to function. This court case, if allowed to continue, would’ve dragged on for months and stymied our judicial system. It’s time to put this matter to rest.”

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