Gov. Kathy Hochul said she didn’t expect the lawsuit state Senate Republicans filed on her behalf to force a full vote on her nominee to be the state’s top judge, Hector LaSalle, who was rejected by a key panel in January

A lawsuit filed by Long Island state Sen. Anthony Palumbo, a Republican, could be decided as early as this week.

Palumbo sued after state Senate Democrats rejected Hector LaSalle in a vote by the Judiciary Committee, without allowing his nomination to go to the full floor. LaSalle was nominated by Hochul to serve as chief judge for New York State.

What You Need To Know

  • Hochul says she was out of the loop when Republicans sued state Senate Democrats over her nominee for chief judge, Hector LaSalle

  • LaSalle was rejected by a senate committee last month, but the suit maintains a full floor vote is required

  • Hochul did not rule out joining the lawsuit in the future if the decision gets appealed

  • The case will be heard in Suffolk County this Friday and could end up setting a precedent for future nominees

“Really, it’s dictated by the state constitution,” Palumbo says. “That the full Senate, not a committee, where you can adjust memberships, you can adjust ratios, that should not dictate a nomination. And that is the crux of the lawsuit. It’s called a declaratory judgment.”

Hochul says she did not coordinate with Republicans, even though she agrees with them about a full floor vote.

“It was unexpected to see them file a lawsuit,” Hochul told reporters in Rochester Monday. “But I have said all along, I remain strongly behind the premise that the constitution of the State of New York requires the Senate consider a nomination from the Governor.”

At this point, it seems unlikely LaSalle could be confirmed even if the entire state Senate votes. But the case could be precedent setting.

“It would be binding in the future. We would know. Win or lose. I think, of course, we are right, and the majority thinks otherwise. But we will see. This is the way to resolve it. We love in a system and a society of rules,” Palumbo says.

Hochul did not rule out joining the lawsuit in the future if the decision gets appealed.

“We are not joining the lawsuit at this time. Not when it is in the local courts,” Hochul said.

Written responses are due Wednesday. And a hearing has been scheduled for this Friday in Suffolk County on Long Island.

An affidavit of urgency was filed, meaning there could be a decision shortly after that hearing.