Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Court of Appealst Rules Gov. Paterson Can Appoint Lt. Governor

After all manner of political and legal setbacks, Governor David Paterson won a victory today when a New York Court of Appeals ruled that the governor could appoint a Lieutenant Governor. The Court of Appeals is the state's highest court, and its determination of state law is final.
The New York Court of Appeals voted 4 to 3 that the governor "has the authority to fill a vacancy in the office of lieutenant-governor by appointment," the ruling said.

The decision comes amid reports that President Barack Obama has urged Paterson not to seek election in next year's gubernatorial race for fear that he cannot recover from a series of political setbacks with his poll numbers running near record lows.

State courts had ruled against Paterson in the case brought by Senate Republicans and a dissident Senate Democrat, following a month-long leadership dispute earlier this year.

The Senate came to a standstill on June 8 when Republicans tried to recapture control of the chamber they had run for 40 years until last November's elections by persuading two dissident Democrats to support them.
I'm frankly surprised at the finding, even as lower courts and the attorney general's office had previously found that a New York governor did not have the authority to make the appointment.

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