NY court to decide if lt. gov. appointment is legal

(AP) - Agreement in Albany over leadership of thestate Senate did not end a dispute over whether Gov. David Patersonis constitutionally permitted to appoint a lieutenant governor.

A Friday hearing on the constitutionality of the appointment - amaneuver by the governor intended to provide a tie-breaking vote inthe Senate - was adjourned until July 15 after petitioners seekingto block Paterson's decision asked for more time.

David Lewis, a Senate attorney for one of the petitioners, saysPaterson's appointment of Richard Ravitch is unconstitutional.

"An unelected governor selected a private citizen to become thesecond highest officer in the state, one heartbeat away from thegovernor without any input from the people, without any advise andconsent from the Senate, without any input from the Senate andAssembly," Lewis said.

Paterson appointed Ravitch to provide a tie-breaking vote in theSenate, which had been deadlocked at 31-31 since shortly after aJune 8 overthrow of Democratic leadership. Sen. Pedro Espada of the Bronx, who sided withRepublicans to stage the coup, rejoined the Democratic conferenceThursday, restoring a 32-30 Democratic majority.

Kathleen Sullivan, a lawyer for Paterson and Ravitch, suggestedoutside court Friday that opposition to Ravitch was no longerpertinent after Espada's return to the Democrats.

Paterson's spokeswoman said in a statement that a court delaywas unwarranted.

For remarks from lawyers on both sides of the court battle, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.

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