STATEMENT BY SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER DEAN SKELOS

 

         Today, the Court of Appeals has cast aside a pair of solid lower
    court rulings that found the Governor has no legal or constitutional basis
    to impose a Lieutenant Governor on the people of the State of New York.
    The court has given new power and authority to an unelected governor where
    no such power had existed under the state constitution.

         In his dissent, Justice Pigott highlighted the scenario that an
    unelected Governor could appoint a Lieutenant Governor, with no scrutiny by
    the electorate and no confirmation by the Senate.  Should that Lieutenant
    Governor become Governor, he or she could then appoint another unelected
    person to serve as Lieutenant Governor without even the basic confirmation
    hearing and vote that is required of agency commissioners and other members
    of state boards.

         The court’s decision to allow the state’s highest offices to be
    filled with no accountability whatsoever to the public or to their elected
    representatives in the Legislature, is dangerous to democracy.

         I strongly disagree with the Court's ruling today and every New
    Yorker should be troubled by it.  Five lower court judges previously ruled
    against the Governor’s appointment, as did three on the Court of Appeals.
    Attorney General Cuomo also said the appointment was unconstitutional.  One
    thing is clear -- we must change the law.

         We need to clarify the process of filling the office of Lieutenant
    Governor to ensure accountability to the people through election or,
    minimally, Senate confirmation.

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