ALBANY—A law professor said Andrew Cuomo had "the constitutional obligation to say something" about the appointment of Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor, a move which is currently undergoing judicial review.
"He immediately had to look at this and see if he could constitutionally defend the governor," Michael Hutter, a professor at Albany Law School, told me. As the head of the Department of Law, Cuomo is charged with representing the state in court. Paterson has retained outside counsel, who said the attorney general demurred from taking the case when asked.
Hutter, who authored an opinion submission arguing, as Cuomo did, that Paterson acted unconstitutionally, also said that he didn't envision any further involvement in the matter by Cuomo.
"Obviously, I don't believe he can go to court. He has no party to represent. I suspect a court could ask the attorney general for its views," Hutter continued, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court sometimes does this and the solicitor general obliges on behalf of the United States government. Cuomo would be in a position to offer the same.
"I don't know if this has ever happened before in the state of New York, but that's something that the Court of Appeals might want," Hutter said. "That's the interesting thing. Then does he have the discretion to say, ‘It's best that I not do it?'"
Cuomo's office has not weighed in on the case beyond their original statement preemptively calling the Ravitch's appointment "not constitutional."