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Have You Wondered Why Kathy Hochul Almost Lost To A MAGA Republican In NY? Wonder No More

The New York Times headline not just missed the point, it poisoned the discussion with sick identity politics: Hochul Taps First Latino Judge to Head New York’s Top Court. Then they called Hector LaSalle and anti-Choice, anti-union fanatic, a “centrist moderate,” instead of a conservative. LaSalle is up for a confirmation vote by the state Senate for a 14 year term, not just serving on the court, but overseeing “the state’s entire judicial system, with more than 3,000 state and local judges, 15,000 staff members, 300 sites and millions of cases.”

LaSalle is one of the most conservative judges in the state’s court system and is very much like Hochul herself, a lifelong conservative turd who disingenuously tried to present herself as a progressive who would protect women’s Choice and union rights during the election. But this is-- and has always been-- the real Kathy Hochul... and why Blue America refused to endorse her last month:

Before she officially announced LaSalle’s nomination, dozens of law professors raised the alarm over LaSalle’s “activist conservative jurisprudence.” New York’s Supreme Court has moved further and further right— with for conservatives voting as a block against the interests of working families— thanks to the Andrew Cuomo appointees. Her 7-person short list, chosen by the State Commission on Judicial Nominations, included 3 right wing judges: LaSalle, Jeffrey Oing and Anthony Cannataro, none of whom are considered fit for the position. Progressives had asked Hochul to avoid the cheap tokenism and nominate one of the 3 really qualified people on the list: Edwina Richardson-Mendelson, Abbe Gluck or Corey Stoughton.

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento: “Justice Hector LaSalle has unfortunately shown a willingness to put the interests of corporations ahead of workers which is disturbing in a state with a long history of supporting workers’ right.” Manny Pastreich of the state SEIU: “Justice LaSalle’s anti-union and anti-worker record makes him an unacceptable choice to be New York’s Chief Judge. New York must be a bulwark against the extreme Supreme Court’s attacks on our basic rights— not an extension of them. Unfortunately, Justice LaSalle’s record makes it clear that he would undermine the important progress New York has achieved in recent years to defend worker rights and gender equity. We strongly urge the Senate to reject this nomination.”

So far at least 7 progressive state Senators— Kristen Gonzalez of Queens, Julia Salazar of Brooklyn, Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx (three Latinos) plus Jabari Brisport of Brooklyn, Rachel May of Syracuse, Hudson Valley state Senator Michelle Hinchey and Samra Brouk of Rochester— have announced they will vote against confirmation. There may already be 10 opponents and even Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins won’t commit to backing the governor and says she’ll wait for the confirmation hearing next month.

The state Senate has 63 members— 42 Democrats and 21 Republicans. Hochul’s grotesque nomination needs 32 votes to pass. If all the Republicans vote against confirmation, she can only afford to lose 11 Democrats… so 4 more than those who have already announced.

The shitty conservative governor: “I'm not having, never wanted to have, a political litmus test that some may have wanted me to do. So I'm asking all the senators, because they're the only ones who are deeply involved in helping this process going forward, the ultimate decision to allow this state to have the very first Latino head of the highest court in New York. I think that's historic. And all these objections will be overcome when the senators look at with an open mind, and actually study the nature of those cases. So I'm standing with him, I'm proud of the selection and I encourage everyone to give him the fair hearing that he's entitled to.”

UPDATE: More Senators Say They're Voting No On LaSalle

Hochul isn’t persuading anyone. Senator-elect Lea Webb of Binghampton just announced she’s voting no. And Senators Robert Jackson of Mangattan’s Upper West Side and Harlem’s Cordell Cleare penned this OpEd for the Amsterdam News yesterday: “[T]oday we are asking our State Senate colleagues to vote against Governor Hochul’s nominee, Justice Hector LaSalle. Candidates should have track records that show a commitment to representing all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable among us. We must bring forward candidates that share progressive values and will protect worker rights, reproductive rights, and the rights of all. Justice Hector LaSalle’s track record runs counter to these ideals. He has passed down decisions that are anti-union, anti-abortion, and that show a disregard for due process and individuals in need. We don’t need his voice leading and dominating the views and decisions in our state’s highest court— not in this union town and not when there is so much at stake… After witnessing the harmful impact of conservative leadership in New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul’s nomination for Chief Judge is disheartening. It fails to inspire confidence that New York will be protected from the dangerous leanings of the current U.S. Supreme Court. In fact, this nomination goes against the package of landmark bills championed by the New York State Legislature this past June protecting the reproductive rights that Governor Hochul signed into law.”

So I guess Hochul will do what she loves most— make a deal with some Republicans to back her conservative candidate that Democrats are about to reject.

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