Hochul Petitions Lawmakers to Support Embattled Top Judicial Pick

By Matis Glenn

Hector D. LaSalle. (Office of Governor Kathy Hochul via AP)

Facing opposition from progressives in the State Senate, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has resorted to personally contacting lawmakers to back her pick for the state’s top judiciary position, according to the New York Post.

Hector LaSalle, a State Supreme Court judge and former Deputy Attorney General who Hochul nominated in December to assume the post of Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, has come under fire for a ruling favorable to pregnancy crisis centers, and allowing Optimum to sue union workers. Half of a dozen labor unions have spoken out against LaSalle, and 14 senators have said that they will not vote to confirm him, according to City and State.  

Should LaSalle – who would be the first Hispanic members of the seven-seat court – lose his bid, Hochul would become the first New York governor in history to have a pick for the office rejected.

The Post reports that Hochul met with several senators, including members of the state’s Judiciary Committee, which plays a pivotal role in the process of appointing judges.

One of the senators said that Hochul said “He’s the right person for the job,” and that “I’m going to remember those who did not rush to judge and those who did the right thing.”

Another contacted senator said that Hochul has “been much more forceful, particularly to the upstate [senators], to vote yes,” adding that “This is the kind of thing where if you vote no, we won’t have a relationship [with Hochul].”

Hochul told the Post that she will employ  “whatever means it takes” to get LaSalle on the bench, and accused the opponents of engaging in “character assassination.”

Despite a supermajority of 42 out of 63 seats in the State Senate, Democrats will likely fall short of a majority needed to confirm LaSalle, as only 28 are expected to vote in favor. Since Republicans are expected to vote against LeSalle, Senate Democratic spokesperson Mike Murphy told New York Focus that it’s “highly unlikely” that LaSalle will get as far as a Senate floor vote.

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