Ahead of Wednesday’s hearing in the state Senate, Gov. Kathy Hochul held a rally in the Bronx Saturday to shore up support for her pick for New York state chief judge.
Hochul was joined on stage by top Black and Latino leaders, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Rep. Nydia Velázquez, who is the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress.
If confirmed, Hector LaSalle would make history as the first Puerto Rican to serve as the state’s top judge.
But several Senate Democrats have announced they will vote against LaSalle because he once served as a prosecutor and they consider him too conservative.
Hochul and supporters argue it is unfair to try to block LaSalle before a hearing.
“All we are asking for is justice and fairness for a man who deserves it,” Hochul said.
LaSalle is scheduled to appear before the state Senate Judiciary Committee in Albany on Wednesday.
Ahead of the hearing, leaders of the state Senate added members to the committee who have pledged to vote against LaSalle.
“It is a travesty of justice that people who said they would vote against him no matter what were added to the committee,” Democrat Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who represents parts of Manhattan and the Bronx “That’s like a teacher saying you get an F before you even enter the classroom.”
If LaSalle does not pass the judiciary committee, Senate leaders said there will be no full floor vote.
Every other previous chief judge nominee has gone before the full Senate for approval.