Gov. Hochul’s Pick for N.Y.’s Highest Court on Verge of Historic Rejection

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, could soon make history — in a dubious way.

According to speculative reports, Hector LaSalle, Hochul’s handpicked selection for the New York State Court of Appeals, could become the first-ever judicial nominee in New York to get rejected by the state Senate.

LaSalle’s detractors aren’t coming from the Republican side. Rather, the progressive wing of the state’s Democratic Party is reportedly “deeply skeptical” of the judge’s values on abortion and labor rights.

The same goes for union leaders in the state.

“[Governor Hochul] promised us that we would have a seat at the table,” said Jimmy Mahoney, the president of a statewide iron workers union. “She put us on the menu. This is not right. The way it was rolled out, it was so unprofessional and backstabbing.”

According to CBS News, “at least 14 state senators” have joined justice groups and unions in opposing LaSalle’s nomination.

“We deserve a chief judge with a record that shows a commitment to representing all New Yorkers,” state Sen. Robert Jackson reportedly said.

Hochul isn’t taking the intra-party criticism of her judicial nominee lying down.

On Saturday, Hochul joined other state Democrats and Latino leaders in the Bronx, pledging to support LaSalle ahead of Wednesday’s confirmation hearing.

If confirmed, LaSalle would be the first Latino to lead New York’s seven-member high court and preside over the state’s judicial system.

“I examined all the records. I saw the cases, even those that are being maligned and used against him, and they are false, being falsely represented, and that’s what I will not stand for,” said Hochul of LaSalle, according to CBS News.

According to Politico, the state Senate Judiciary Committee has “enough progressive senators to dismiss Hochul’s pick” outright, meaning it might never advance to a full senate vote.

In the event of the Judiciary Committee nixing LaSalle’s nomination, Hochul will reportedly ponder taking legal action to force a full voice vote in the Senate, “where she might be able to secure enough backers” on the Democrat and Republican sides.

“I’m willing to do everything I need to do to get it through the committee,” Hochul said on Thursday, while adding that LaSalle has been “horribly maligned based on the handful of cherry-picked cases.”

“We’re going to let it run its course,” said Hochul. “But I feel confident after the committee has a fair hearing that the process will play out.”

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