WXXI Top Stories
Thu August 20, 2009
Mid Level Appeals Court Rejects Paterson's Lt. Gov Appointment
By Karen DeWitt
Albany, New York – A mid level appeals court has declared that Governor David Paterson's appointment of Richard Ravitch to be his lieutenant governor is unconstitutional.
The court ruled that Paterson unlawfully appointed Richard Ravitch to be his lieutenant governor, and ordered that Ravitch immediately cease exercising any of the powers of the office.
The judges said that Article IV, section 6 of the constitution already provides for the vacancy of a lieutenant governor, and states that "the Temporary President of the State Senate shall perform all of the duties of the lieutenant governor during such vacancy", until the next gubernatorial election is held, in this case, November of 2010.
The judges also ruled that the section of the law that the governor has based his actions on, the public officers law, provides no authority for Paterson to appoint Ravitch to the post.
Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos said in a statement that the court upheld the position he's taken all along- that the governor acted "recklessly and unconstitutionally when he put his own political interests ahead of the public interest to appoint a lieutenant governor".
Governor Paterson did not have an immediate comment, but he is expected to appeal the case to the State's highest court. The appellate court judges, in their opinion, say because the matter is of great public import, they've already granted permission for the case to advance to the Court of Appeals.