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Hochul stands firm as chief judge pick faces steep battle

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Gov. Kathy Hochul still hopes her pick for the state’s highest court can successfully navigate fierce opposition.

Hector LaSalle, an appellate court justice and former prosecutor, faces defeat if Hochul can’t get enough Senators to approve his nomination. There are several progressive lawmakers who oppose LaSalle, citing past decisions that paint him as anti-union, anti-abortion and pro-prosecutor. Hochul, in Syracuse Thursday, asked lawmakers to keep an open mind — at least until next weeks Judiciary Committee hearing.

"I feel confident that people will look at him fairly, objectively and know that this is an individual who is an outstanding jurist," Hochul said.

Among those opposing the LaSalle nomination is central New York State Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse). She said she’ll keep an open mind.

"I doubt that I will change my mind on this," May said. "I had weighed in before she nominated him and I still feel the same way, but I am open to whatever he has to say."

May also notes that other lawmakers who oppose the nomination have not changed their mind after meeting with him. If approved, LaSalle would be the first Latino Chief Judge in New York State.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.