ALBANY—Judge Joseph Teresi has heeded David Paterson's call and issued an order for all 62 members of the State Senate to convene at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The ruling will be appealed, likely preventing the order from being effective in the morning.
"The intention, as I find it to be in the New York State Constitution, I find that the word convene means to come into session as one group," Teresi said from the bench. "To come into session as separate groups is a fiction. It's an illusion that these elected officials are working as one elected group that is the New York State Senate, and I will not be part of that fiction."
Lawyers for the Democratic conference and Republican-led coalition argued that the case should be dismissed because it violated the separation of powers under the constitution. Paterson has claimed that concurrent sessions of the State Senate run by each of the parties, which have occurred the past eight days, are illegitimate. Teresi agreed. He also said this:
"I can't help but observe that the members of the New York State Senate, each and every one of them, have a unique opportunity as elected officials to take the high road and do the right thing for the greater good," he began. "Otherwise, there are those citizens in the court who could conclude, if they have not already, that these members have placed their own interests ahead of those of the citizens of this state for the benefit of their own personal and selfish interests.
"Those same people may also conclude, and define that conduct, as rude, inconsiderate and egotistical," Teresi continued. "Unfortunately, I am without power to correct or address those issues."
He did not address the legality of any bills enacted in a Senate-only special session, nor the ability of Paterson to put legislation as opposed to nominations on the active list for such a session. He quipped that he wished Paterson would put judicial pay raises on the docket.
Jack Casey, an attorney representing the Republican-led coalition, promised to appeal. He noted that under the Public Officers law, a notice of appeal creates an automatic stay on Teresi's order, called a writ of mandamus. He announced his intention to file the required notice at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
David Markus, an attorney representing the Democratic conference, said "we're going to speak with our clients" about the possibility of an appeal.
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