The Center for Community Alternatives, which has has been one of the leading organizations opposing Gov. Kathy Hochul’s pick for chief judge, consulted with former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned in 2018 following a sexual harassment and abuse scandal.

Hochul last month nominated Judge Hector LaSalle to be New York state’s chief justice, but he immediately faced headwinds when several state senators took to Twitter to announce they would not vote to confirm him. The state Senate must approve the nomination in order for it to go forward. 

Critics believe LaSalle’s rulings have been too conservative, particularly when it comes to abortion and the rights of workers. Schneiderman brought a case before LaSalle while serving as state attorney general involving so-called crisis pregnancy centers, which was decided in 2017. LaSalle allowed a motion to quash a subpoena for documents from Schneiderman, which was considered by critics at the time to be unusual. 

Sources say Schneiderman was consulted about that case by advocates now organizing against LaSalle, including The Center for Community Alternatives. 

Schneiderman declined to comment.

In a statement, Peter Martin, an organizer for the center said, “We briefly discussed the impact of the Evergreen decision with one of the litigants, former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who confirmed that the decision Justice LaSalle joined crippled his office’s investigation into anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, ending the office's attempt to help New Yorkers who sought to exercise their right to full reproductive care.”

Schneiderman resigned in 2018 after four women he was in sexual relationships with accused him of physical abuse. 

In response, former Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, who is part of the group “Latino’s for LaSalle,” which is supporting the nomination, said, “I am shocked that a so-called progressive advocacy group would align itself with Eric Schneiderman to impact New York State’s  justice system. This organization is pretending to be for progressive women’s rights yet aligns itself with a tainted public official to get their candidate in.“

According to the state constitution, the state Senate is expected to accept or reject LaSalle’s nomination within 30 days, but so far the Senate majority has yet to schedule a hearing.