ALBANY—A four-judge panel just ruled against the constitutionality of David Paterson’s appointment of Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor and upheld an injunction that prevents him from doing his job. This ruling is expected to be appealed.
“We have no quarrel with those who say that having a man of Mr. Ravitch’s stature, knowledge and experience in the office of lieutenant-governor would promote the public interest by providing help and counsel to the Governor in difficult times and by bringing much-needed stability to the government of this State,” wrote judges of the Appellate Division, second department. “We conclude, however, that the Governor simply does not have the authority to appoint a lieutenant-governor, that his purported appointment of Mr. Ravitch cannot be reconciled with an unambiguous and contrary provision in the State Constitution, and that no considerations of the State’s financial difficulties or of political strife in the Senate allow us to find authority for Mr. Ravitch’s appointment where none exists.”
Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos, who brought the case, said the decision shows “the governor acted recklessly and unconstitutionally when he put his own political interests ahead of the public interest.”