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Lea Webb opposes Hochul’s high court pick

Incoming state Sen. Lea Webb, a Democrat, said she would oppose the nomination of Hector LaSalle to lead New York's highest court.
Katie Kanazawich
Incoming state Sen. Lea Webb, a Democrat, said she would oppose the nomination of Hector LaSalle to lead New York's highest court.

Democratic state Senator-elect Leah Webb said she would oppose the nomination of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s pick to lead New York’s highest court Friday.

In a statement, Webb said she would reject Justice Hector LaSalle’s nomination based on his decisions on workers rights and reproductive care.

“In light of the recent Supreme Court decisions on these issues, we need to ensure in New York that we appoint judges who will address these disparities and who are committed to equity and justice for all,” Webb’s statement read. “If the nomination comes to the Senate floor, I will vote No.”

Webb, who won her first term in the newly drawn 52nd District encompassing Broome, Tompkins and Tioga counties last month, is among 10 Democratic senators to oppose LaSalle’s nomination. One more defection by a Democratic senator would likely tank the nomination, assuming all Republicans also vote against LaSalle.
Webb’s rejection of the endorsement comes as major labor groups, including the NYS AFL-CIO and 32BJ SEIU, publicly opposed LaSalle’s nomination. Both unions endorsed Webb in her state Senate bid.

Hochul stood by her pick while speaking to reporters Friday, specifically referencing the issue’s opponents like Webb have raised over LaSalle’s decisions regarding labor and reproductive rights.

"For anyone to pull out one, two or three cases out of that body of work that goes on through a lifetime and to find someone as being anti-woman or anti-labor based on those when if you actually read those cases that are in question, they have nothing to do with a woman's right to choose,” Hochul said.

The state Senate has 30 days from Thursday to hold hearings and vote on the nominee. Legislators return to Albany to begin their next term on Jan. 4.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.