Gov. Kathy Hochul insisted Friday she will continue to back her nominee to lead New York's highest court amid opposition from members of her own party in the state Senate.
Her comments are the most full-throated in public since Hochul announced the nomination of Judge Hector LaSalle two weeks ago.
"We will allow the process to continue," she told reporters in New York City.
Opposition from Democrats is highly unusual to a Court of Appeals nomination for a governor, whose office has selected appointees to the court since 1977.
But progressive advocates and labor unions have expressed deep unease with LaSalle leading the court, and Democratic lawmakers had previously signaled they did not want to vote to confirm another judge with a prosecutorial background on the court.
Deputy Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris, the most prominent opponent of LaSalle's nomination in the Senate, told WNYC on Thursday lawmakers are seeking to alter the direction of the court, which they believe has turned too far to the right on issues facing defendants in criminal cases.
Senate Democrats are set to expand the number of lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of an expected confirmation hearing.
Hochul, however, is unswayed publicly by the opposition. The process will include sending LaSalle's nomination to the Judiciary Committee "even if it's stacked" against him, the governor said.
"I selected the very best person. Hector LaSalle has an exceptional record," Hochul said. "He'll be the person that will bring a fractured court together. He'll be fair. He'll be just."