The upcoming New York Senate session will see the judiciary committee expand from 15 seats to 19. Among the additions is Yonkers resident and senator from the 37th district, Shelley Mayer.
The current composition of 10 Democrats and five Republicans will now tip even further left with 13 to six. The committee is still to be led by Manhattan-based Senator Brad Hoylman.
The interest in this committee is heightened at this moment over the current nomination of Hector LaSalle to lead the state’s highest court. Before a full floor vote to confirm or reject a judicial nominee, they must first clear the hurdle of the judicial committee. With 14 Senators already publicly opposed to the nomination, a floor vote is unlikely to result in favor of Hochul’s nominee. However, the change to this committee may prevent that and stop LaSalle even sooner.
The 14 senators in public opposition, which include Mayer herself, may face retribution from the newly elected Governor. But, if a floor vote can be avoided, then that may save other senators from the same scrutiny. Therefore, expanding the judiciary committee is a tactic to both reject an unpopular judge and protect moderate senators from a difficult vote.
With so much opposition ranging from the grass-roots to veteran senators, the path for LaSalle’s confirmation will have to thread a needle through the newly organized, and less-friendly, judiciary committee.