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New York Senate Judiciary Committee rejects Gov. Hochul's pick of Hector LaSalle for top judge

This is the first time the committee has voted down the governor's judicial nominee for the Court of Appeals.

Jonathan Gordon

Jan 18, 2023, 10:11 PM

Updated 518 days ago


Gov. Kathy Hochul is plotting her next move after the New York Senate Judiciary Committee rejected her nominee to chair the state's highest court.
Hochul called the hearing thorough but unfair and said Justice Hector LaSalle deserves to go before the full state Senate. Reports say she might be willing to sue the Legislature to make that happen.
For the first time, the New York Senate Judicial Committee failed to move forward with a governor's nominee for the chief judge on the state Court of Appeals.
A total of 10 of the 13 Democrats on the 19-member committee voted against LaSalle, including State Sen. Shelley Mayer.
"I'm not satisfied that he's the right person for this moment," says Mayer.
She, like others, took exception to LaSalle's more conservative record on cases he's been involved in, and hoped for a more progressive candidate to ensure the state's top court protects the laws the Legislature passes.
"You have to follow the law but there's a lot of room in there for following the law to do more towards justice and less towards constricting rights," says Mayer.
The hearing lasted five hours and LaSalle took time to defend himself as pro-choice, pro-union, and pro-criminal justice.
"This is what I believe and if that is different from what you have heard or read, I am happy to set the record straight," said LaSalle.
LaSalle's supporters said they're disappointed with the way the hearing played out.
Westchester Hispanic Democrats co-chair Ximena Francella still believes in LaSalle.
"He is pro-choice, he is in favor of the labor movement, you know he's pro-immigration. So I think that he clarified his record," he says.
As things stand now, Hochul's nominee will not get the chance to make history as the state's first Latino chief justice.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins confirmed the full Senate will not hold a vote to approve LaSalle after the Judiciary Committee turned his nomination away.
Hochul has raised doubts about whether the Judiciary Committee can make this determination or if the nomination could still go to the entire floor.
Sen. Mayer believes the governor does not have the standing to intervene.
The position currently remains vacant.

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