New York Daily News

A new chief judge, the sequel


Once again, the 12 members of the state Commission on Judicial Nomination — appointed by the bipartisan leadership of the Legislatur­e, the governor and the chief judge — have properly fulfilled their duties under the New York Constituti­on and state law to select seven highly qualified lawyers to be considered to become the next chief judge of New York State, replacing Janet DiFiore, who departed in August.

The panel had done the same thing in November, and presented Gov. Hochul with a list of seven highly qualified lawyers. Like the commission, Hochul then properly fulfilled her duties under the New York Constituti­on and state law and nominated one of the candidates, Hector LaSalle.

The third leg of the stool, the state Senate, however did not fulfill its duties under the New York Constituti­on and state law for the first time ever and refused to vote on LaSalle within the prescribed 30 days after Hochul made the nomination.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her Democratic conference had to be sued by a Republican senator, Anthony Palumbo, to force a vote and only after the case was brought did LaSalle get a vote, where he was defeated, well after the 30 days had lapsed. And even as they were voting, Stewart-Cousins, Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris and Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Hoylman-Sigal all continued to insist that they were choosing to vote, not that they were required to do so.

Nonetheles­s, a judge correctly ruled against them and made it clear that all nomination­s to the Court of Appeals must be voted on by the full Senate within 30 days.

So now we repeat. Hochul will select off the new list in April and the Senate will then have 30 days to confirm or reject her nominee. The commission has found all seven to have the “character, temperamen­t, profession­al aptitude, experience, qualificat­ions and fitness for office,” just like they found regarding LaSalle, who should have been confirmed. Let’s see if the Senate lawbreaker­s can follow the law this time.

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