Another day, another op-ed on another fight in the courtroom to get New York State to uphold its Constitution. The ultimate law of the state – every word approved by the citizens by referendum – the Constitution matters more than anything the Senate, Assembly and Governor of the state does. All of Albany’s duties, power and authority derive from its language.
Their gerrymandered lines for congressional districts and invalid maps for the Senate have been thrown out by the state’s highest court, but they’re still fighting and fighting and fighting to keep the equally invalid maps in place. ‘Assembly. Worse still, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Governor Hochul are paying millions in tax dollars to private lawyers to wage their selfish war on the Constitution.
The Senate hired Cuti Hecker Wang for a $3 million contract, and according to state comptroller records, $523,990 was paid. Considering the Senate lines are dead and buried and the primaries pushed back to August, one would think the Senate owes a full refund. The Assembly retained Graubard Miller for $1.5 million, but only $52,209.53 was paid. Maybe someone is waiting to see the final result? The Assembly also has attorneys from another firm active on numerous cases, with comptroller records showing $70,369.73 paid so far on a $150,000 contract with Phillips Lytle.
Added to these expenses are the user fees of government attorneys working for the state Attorney General and the State Board of Elections.
On Thursday, as expected, a trial judge saw nothing wrong with the Board of Elections certifying the June 28 primary for the Assembly, even after the Court of Appeal ruled the cards were produced illegally . This case quickly heads to the Albany Court of Appeals, for what hopefully will be a very quick review, before it moves a few blocks to the Court of Appeals. These seven justices, led by Chief Justice Janet DiFiore, appear to be the only ones who care about the Constitution.