WASHINGTON, D.C., January 9, 2023 – In late December, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul nominated Hector LaSalle to be the new chief judge of the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. The opening is an opportunity to swing the Court from a 4–3 conservative majority to a 4–3 liberal majority, but LaSalle brings a conservative record that is anti-worker, anti-abortion, and anti-criminal justice. While LaSalle enjoys some support given that he would be New York’s first Latino chief judge, his conservative background has earned him significant opposition.
New York’s Senate, which must confirm the nomination, is strongly controlled by a Democratic supermajority, enough of whom have now come out against LaSalle’s confirmation to prevent the appointment without Republican support. Sen. Brad Hoylman, who chairs the state Senate’s judiciary committee, has previously indicated he is unwilling to advance LaSalle’s nomination if it would require Republican votes.
Alliance for Justice Action Campaign opposes LaSalle’s nomination and urges Gov. Hochul to select a new nominee.
Jake Faleschini, AFJ Action’s Legal Director for State Courts, issued the following statement:
“Enough is enough. At the federal level, we have learned how dangerous it is to let our courts run amok with conservative activists. Over the past year, we saw the U.S. Supreme Court issue not only the Dobbs ruling overturning Roe v. Wade but also the Bruen ruling gutting New York’s gun violence prevention measures. New York has a rare opportunity to reinvigorate its own highest court by ensuring that it is controlled by judges committed to civil rights and equal justice for all. Hector LaSalle is clearly the wrong pick for chief judge. Gov. Hochul should withdraw his nomination immediately and instead pick one of the three highly qualified women forwarded by her Judicial Screening Committee. It is time to end this needless charade and move on. ”