Despite growing opposition to her Court of Appeals chief judge pick, Gov. Kathy Hochul has continued to strongly defend Justice Hector LaSalle. But her unwavering position has pitted her against some of her strongest allies in labor. Leaders of three unions rallied in the Capitol recently to let the governor know that if she doesn’t make things right, she can’t count on their support.
Hochul is sticking behind her pick for the next chief judge for the Court of Appeals, even though opposition against the sitting Supreme Court Appellate Division judge keeps mounting. More than just the 14 state senators who rejected LaSalle’s nomination outright are several unions who are now giving a big thumbs down for LaSalle. Around six unions, including the influential 32BJ and AFL-CIO, have publicly come out against LaSalle, arguing that a past ruling of his went against unionized labor values, according to City & State magazine.
Rather than acquiescing to the unions who helped push her across the finish line in the latest gubernatorial election, Hochul has decided to further pressure lawmakers into backing LaSalle. According to the New York Post, the governor has been personally called and met with members of the senate’s Judiciary Committee to get them on her side.
Both state senators Gustavo Rivera and Robert Jackson are among those who oppose Hochul’s nomination.
“It is not hypothetical to say that New York’s chief judge must defend workers’ rights, bodily autonomy, voting rights, and so much else being attacked at the national level. The U.S. Supreme Court has already demonstrated that they will actively erode what we have fought so hard to secure,” Rivera said in a statement.
“Judge LaSalle’s anti-choice and especially strong anti-labor views in his decisions do not align with my principles as a legislator and as a New Yorker.
“I recognize that this may be a proud moment for our Latino communities to see one of us nominated to lead our State’s highest court, but a candidate’s ethnicity cannot be the only qualification by which we measure his capability.”
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz was re-appointed chair of the assembly’s codes committee last week as the new legislative session kicks off.
“This committee is one of the busiest committees in the Assembly, reporting hundreds of bills each year,” he said in his latest constituent newsletter.
“I am excited to continue my work leading this committee, especially when crime and public safety are at the forefront of many New Yorkers’ minds. My approach to this committee has been to maintain a broad perspective and listen carefully to people on every side of these important issues in order to reach a consensus that reflects both our democratic ideals and our core societal morals.”
One of the main pieces of legislation Assemblyman Dinowitz is focusing on is the Climate Change Superfund Act, which would generate $30 billion over a decade to combat the worsening effects of global warming by taxing the very companies that played a part in causing the crisis in the first place.
The tax revenue generated from the companies that have led to the build of greenhouse gas emissions would go toward new infrastructure projects needed to reverse those effects. “The basic thought behind the bill is that you got to clean up your own mess,” the Assemblyman previously told The Riverdale Press. “The polluters made the mess, and they should pay to clean it up.”
Dinowitz also listed the passage of the New York Health Act, which would abolish private health insurance in favor of a single-payer system.
“All New Yorkers deserve access to affordable, high-quality health care coverage.
“We need to break through the opposition fomented by insurance companies, and we need to solidify language to address concerns raised by labor unions about health benefits that were collectively bargained at the expense of pay raises and other issues,” he wrote in his newsletter.
On the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the U. S. Capitol, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat remarked on the occasion that shook the nation.
“Two years ago today, we witnessed a deadly atrocity waged on the U.S. Capitol, the Congress, and the Constitution. The insurrection was a blatant disregard for human life, democracy, and the peaceful transfer of power that was initiated by zealots and whose extremist ideology festered into violent actions,” he said in a press release. “Duly elected members of Congress and their staff were in grave danger and working class Americans who dedicated their lives to protecting our nation’s Capitol were killed.”
In the days and months following the attacks, Espaillat and other Democratic colleagues introduced the Electoral Count Reform Act to stop a similar attempt to overturn a presidential election, in addition to providing additional funding for local election security.
“Yet, while this significant piece of legislation has been enacted, more must be done to strengthen our elections,” he said. “The American people overwhelmingly support our Democratic legislation to clean up elections and protect the right to vote.”