New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday he believes the confirmation hearings for Hector LaSalle were “thorough” and “fair.”
Hoylman-Sigal made his comments during an appearance on “Mornings On 1,” one day after the committee rejected Gov. Kathy Hochul’s chief justice nominee.
LaSalle was questioned by the committee for several hours on Wednesday, during which members dug into much of his background, and particularly the legal decisions he made in the past.
While there had already been concerns about LaSalle’s judicial record, including his stances on labor unions and abortion, Hoylman-Sigal, a Manhattan Democrat, said he believes the hearing was impartial.
“I did not have my mind made up before this hearing began. I had not announced my public opinion on LaSalle. I think that we had a thorough hearing – it was close to five hours,” Hoylman-Sigal said.
“We gave committee members plenty of time to ask questions. And the nominee himself said at the end of the hearing, that it was ‘elegant,’ which I will take as a hearing that was fair, and gave him his chance to say what he thought about his record,” he said.
Following the hearing, Hochul said it was thorough, but the outcome “predetermined,” prompting her to consider legal action.
Hoylman-Sigal believes any legal action would fall short.
“I think it's clear in the Constitution that the state Senate is within its powers – as is the state Assembly – to set its own rules on how we proceed with both legislation and nominations and we use a committee process, and that's what we did yesterday,” he said. “The nominee was rejected, and the full Senate has, as a result, spoken.”
Hoylman-Sigal said he hopes the Senate and the governor can “get things back on track,” as he supports many things in her “ambitious agenda” for the state, but that he wants to see a nominee who “Democrats across the spectrum can coalesce behind.”