State Watch

Democrats reject Hochul’s judicial nominee after GOP state senator’s lawsuit

New York’s Democratic-controlled state Senate on Wednesday rejected Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s judicial nominee for chief judge of the state Court of Appeals, a political blow for the governor.

The state Senate voted 39-20 to reject the confirmation of Justice Hector LaSalle, who has come under scrutiny from some on the left over his judicial record.

Republicans sued to allow a full-Senate floor vote on LaSalle after the New York state Senate Judiciary Committee rejected LaSalle 10-9 last month, arguing in their suit that forgoing a floor vote violated the state Constitution.

But Democrats moved to hold Wednesday’s vote just days before a judge was set to hear the arguments. Republicans indicated on the floor that the legal matter will still move forward.

“This vote is an important victory for the Constitution. But it was not a vote on the merits of Justice LaSalle, who is an overwhelmingly qualified and talented jurist,” Hochul said in a statement after the vote. 

Hochul nominated LaSalle in December. After Wednesday’s political blow, she says she’ll turn to finding another nominee. 

“Now that the full Senate has taken a vote, I will work toward making a new nomination. I remain committed to selecting a qualified candidate to lead the court and deliver justice. That is what New Yorkers deserve,” Hochul said.

State Sen. Robert Ortt, the Republican leader in the state Senate, said that “with the decision to finally bring Justice Hector LaSalle to the floor, Senate Democrats are conceding defeat in their fight against fulfilling their obligations under the State Constitution.” 

Democratic state Sen. Shelley Mayer said she voted against LaSalle “because of his pattern of narrowly interpreting the law.”

State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) called LaSalle’s nomination an ongoing distraction.” 

“We have a state to run. This court case would’ve dragged on for months and stymied our judicial system,” Stewart-Cousins said.

According to the Albany Times Union, Wednesday’s vote marks the first time in 46 years the New York Senate has rejected a chief judge nominee.

Tags kathy hochul Kathy Hochul New York nominee

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video