Nominations don’t always go smoothly – as Hector LaSalle’s reminds us
Sometimes there’s not total agreement on a nominee or appointee from the mayor or governor.
It’s no surprise when a U.S. Supreme Court nominee faces a tough confirmation fight. The U.S. Senate famously rejected Ronald Reagan’s selection of Robert Bork in 1987, leading to the creation of the term “borked,” or trying to sink someone’s nomination. Others were forced to withdraw their nominee, like George W. Bush did with Harriet Miers in 2005. And Merrick Garland didn’t even get a vote after his nomination by Barack Obama in 2016. With the fight over state Court of Appeals Chief Judge nominee Hector LaSalle still hanging in the balance, here are a few recent appointments or nominations that didn’t have unanimous support.
This year’s fight over Gov. Kathy Hochul’s chief judge pick was the first time the state Senate had rejected a nominee. But the governor hasn’t indicated whether she’ll sue to force a full floor vote or go back to the drawing board with another nominee.
The mayoral security expert, who just happens to be Eric Adams’ younger brother, raised ethical and conflict of interest concerns when he was hired. But he wasn’t the first mayoral family member to be hired by the city, and his $1 annual salary isn’t breaking the treasury.
Early in his tenure, Eric Adams wanted to appoint Fernando Cabrera to lead the Office of Community Mental Health. But LGBTQ groups opposed that choice due to Cabrera’s history of homophobic statements. The mayor withdrew the selection, but later named him as a senior faith adviser.
Bill de Blasio’s pick to lead the Taxi and Limousine Commission had an “awful” time at his first confirmation hearing in July 2019 – so bad that the mayor withdrew the nomination days later.
New York City schools chancellors
Given the enormity of leading the nation’s largest school district, mayors have sometimes had difficulty finding the right person for the post. Cathie Black only lasted three months after being appointed by Mike Bloomberg in 2011. And Alberto Carvalho said he was taking the job in 2018 only to reverse course in a stunning live announcement that he was staying in Miami.
Much like with schools, everyone might not always agree on the right NYPD commissioner. Rudy Giuliani appointed Bernard Kerik to the post in 2000 over objections from his Cabinet and the outgoing police commissioner. Elected officials questioned Bill de Blasio’s pick of Dermot Shea over appointing a Black candidate.
When Kathy Hochul was selected by Andrew Cuomo to run for lieutenant governor, she wasn’t exactly a favorite of progressives. When Hochul became governor, her choice of Brian Benjamin didn’t work out, even though several charges against him have already been dismissed. And some Democrats blamed her appointment of Antonio Delgado for the party losing a House seat in the Hudson Valley.