LaSalle appearing Wednesday before state judiciary committee
Brendan J. Lyons is reporting for the Times Union presiding appellate Justice Hector D. LaSalle will appear Wed., Jan. 18, before the state Senate's judiciary committee an important step toward his confirmation as chief judge of New York's highest court. LaSalle was nominated last month by Gov. Kathy Hochul to lead the Court of Appeals. Multiple senators on the judiciary committee have indicated they would not support LaSalle. He currently presides in Brooklyn over one of the busiest appellate courts in the nation. Since his nomination, he has come under intense scrutiny from both his supporters and opponents. LaSalle, who is Puerto Rican, would be the first Latino chief judge in New York if confirmed. Many of LaSalle's opponents are urging Hochul to withdraw the nomination, and some Senate Democrats argue there are not enough votes in the conference to confirm him. But LaSalle could be nominated if he receives votes from Republicans. Hochul and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins disagree about whether LaSalle's nomination would need to be adopted by the judiciary committee before going to the full Senate for a vote. "It doesn't get to the floor unless it gets out of committee," Stewart-Cousins said last week. "It is the practice that what happens in committees matter." Hochul, however, says under the state Constitution the Senate "has to advise and consent the governor on her appointment." The number of opponents and supporters of LaSalle continues to swell. So far, 14 state Senate Democrats have said they oppose the nomination, which means he would need to rely on Republican votes to be confirmed. But Stewart-Cousins has said there are more senators in her conference who have privately said they oppose his nomination. If LaSalle is not confirmed, it would be the first rejection of a governor's nominee to the court since 1978. Read the full story in the Times Union.