Judiciary chair sees ‘steep climb’ for Hochul’s chief judge selection

By Published On: December 29th, 2022Categories: Capitol Notes

State Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Hoylman opposes a floor vote on Judge Hector LaSalle’s candidacy to serve as chief judge of the state’s top court if his confirmation requires Republican votes, a reality that appeared likely on Thursday afternoon, as a dozen Democratic state senators had announced public opposition to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s selection.

“We have a majority – and in fact, a super majority – for a reason, which is to make certain that the values that we share, as Democrats, are reflected in our actions for the people of New York and I don’t think a vote that required senate Republicans would be indicative of a chamber that put its values forward,” the Manhattan Democrat told The Capitol Pressroom.

Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Hoylman said he was not sure what the path forward for LaSalle could possibly be.

“It’s a very steep climb, based on the number of senators who have expressed public opposition and that doesn’t even count senators who have privately suggested that they would vote no,” he said. “So this is a very narrow pathway for this nominee – if there’s one, even available, at all.”

He added that it was unlikely the Senate Judiciary Committee would advance LaSalle’s nomination if it was simply doomed to fail later in the process.

If Hochul doesn’t pull her nominee, Hoylman didn’t envision holding a hearing on LaSalle’s nomination before the second week of January, at which point he would reach his own conclusion about the governor’s selection.

“It’s still, you know, weeks away. There’s a lot of movement, as we’ve learned just this morning and we’ll see, who in fact, the nominee is presented before the Judiciary Committee. I have learned, you know, one thing in my 10 years in public office, which is you can’t predict the future, particularly when there’s so many moving pieces,” he added.

The full conversation, which also touches on Hoylman’s legislation to beef up the enforcement powers of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct is available below.