Governor David Paterson just got some rather surprising good news in what has otherwise been a colossally bad week.
In a 4-3 decision, the state's highest court upheld the governor's appointment of Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor. The appointment was borne out of the summer stalemate in the State Senate, but has now outlived the impasse by several months. Having vigorously defended his prerogative to appoint Ravitch–who has a reputation for fixing things–the embattled governor kept fighting the case, losing at every turn, until the decision this morning.
Ravitch becomes the first lieutenant governor in the state's history to have been appointed.
With the State Senate now split 32-30 in favor of the Democrats, the appointment would seem to matter much less than it did in early July. But with Democratic Senator Hiram Monserrate currently on trial, and with the general unpredictability that surrounds the state's upper house, Ravitch's appointment makes for a kind of partisan insurance.
And, perhaps more than anything else, it tips the news cycle in Paterson's direction for the first time in recent memory.