Call it Schrodinger's chief judge nomination: Hector LaSalle's bid to become the leader of the New York court system and the state's top court at the moment is both alive and dead.
In the week since Gov. Kathy Hochul's nominee to become chief judge was rejected by a key state Senate Committee, the governor has not given an indication whether she will continue to move forward with him or choose someone else.
On Tuesday while visiting the Albany Public Safety Building, Hochul declined to elaborate on her next steps or what she's considering to end the impasse over the nomination.
"It's been less than a week, and I have an opportunity to evaluate all my options," she said.
Not mentioned by the governor, nor was it ruled out directly, was whether she would file a lawsuit to force a floor vote for LaSalle in the state Senate even as her fellow Democrats in the chamber have suggested there would not be enough votes for him to win confirmation anyway.
Any suggestion of a lawsuit — which legal observers like former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has said there are grounds for — at this point is too early, she said.
"You will know everything you need to know in due time," Hochul said.
Nevertheless, Hochul appeared to indicate the Senate Judiciary Committee's rejection of the nomination was not the be all, end all of the process.
"It's a committee's recommendation" and not the full Senate, she said.
The unprecedented standoff for the governor and the Democratic-controlled chamber has been part of a bumpy start to the legislative session for Hochul in Albany this month.
Opponents of LaSalle's nomination include labor unions and progressive advocates displeased with his case record on the lower courts. Supporters, however, insist critics are taking cases out of key legal context and have pointed to additional lawmakers being added to the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of the vote.
More broadly, Democrats in the Legislature have signaled they want to shift the Court of Appeals in a more left-leaning trajectory after criminal justice and labor rulings they have deemed to be too conservative.
Acrimony over the nomination saga has rippled through the state Legislature. On Monday, Republican state Sen. Tom O'Mara called the Senate Judiciary Committee's actions akin to a "kangaroo court."
"What our position is and still is and has been all along is this should be considered by the full floor of the Senate," he said. "The deck was stacked in this process."
But LaSalle's critics in the Legislature have called for an overhaul of how judges are nominating in the first place through a judicial nominating commission.
"I think we need to take a hard look at changing how we got to this point," said state Sen. Mike Gianaris.
Hochul on Tuesday to reporters once again reiterated she believes LaSalle is the best candidate for the job. What happens next will happen after a "thoughtful analysis and consultation."
"I assure you," she said, "my guiding star is to do the best thing for the people of this state."