Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics

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Gov's lieutenant pick: Stay of removal but only for now

 Unless Gov. David A. Paterson does a sudden Spitzer-hooker implosion -- or something awful occurs that forces him out of the job -- the  legal maneuverings of the moment will have no lasting effect since higher-court decisions are so widely expected in the coming weeks or months. But Paterson's unprecedented claim of executive power in "appointing" Richard Ravitch as his lieutenant governor remains a Constitutional issue in this state much bigger than the info-tainment media seem capable of conveying. 

Earlier this week in Nassau County, state Supreme Court Justice William LaMarca, a Democrat and former Massapequa Board of Education president, declared that there is no provision in the Constitution for appointing a lieutenant governor and historical precedent supports the challenge of the "appointment" by Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and allies. But Appellate Justice Priscilla Hall, a city-based judge tapped by Paterson for her current post, issued the Paterson side a stay from LaMarca's temporary restraining order against the Ravitch pick.

Stay or no stay, imagine if the corruption-tainted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich were instead top official in New York, had his LG quit, replaced him with his wife -- and then left office. Gubernatorial succession in this state has always belonged to someone who's been elected by at least some of the people.  And lieutenant governors are elected in tandem with governors.

 

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