Lawmakers throw out Hochul’s nomination for chief judge

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — After a nearly five hour judiciary committee hearing Wednesday, committee chair Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal slammed his gavel–officially throwing out Gov. Kathy Hochul’s chief judge nomination for Hector LaSalle.

Advocates and lawmakers alike erupted in opposition, feeling the decision was unfair. But chair Hoylman-Sigal emphasized lawmakers did their job.

“I think it was clear that the Senate performed it’s constitutional responsibilities today to provide the advice to the governor,” he said.

Throughout the hearing lawmakers asked two rounds of questions regarding LaSalle’s history of decisions and opinions, in his time as a prosecutor, on cases dealing with issues of workers rights and reproductive healthcare.

Some lawmakers feel his rulings raise concern on these issues.

LaSalle said during the hearing that he is grateful for the opportunity to speak in his defense. He said he is supportive of union rights, civil rights, and reproductive healthcare.

“This is what I believe. And if that is different than what you have heard or read. I am happy now to set the record straight,” LaSalle said.

Gov. Hochul issued a statement saying the hearing was thorough, but she does not believe it was fair.

“Several Senators stated how they were going to vote before the hearing even began – including those who were recently given seats on the newly expanded Judiciary Committee. While the Committee plays a role, we believe the Constitution requires action by the full Senate,” Hochul said.

Moving forward lawmakers now await what the governor decides to do next. Hochul could either send a new list of nominations or if she feels strongly enough about this nomination, she could bring this issue to court.


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