Judge tosses Senate case back to lawmakers

June 16, 2009 2:48:05 PM PDT
A judge's refusal to settle the power struggle over New York's Senate is leaving the chamber more deeply gridlocked than when the standoff began June 8. State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara is dismissing the case, saying it's improper for the court to get involved in a legislative tussle. He recommends the legislature resolve the question of who's in charge of the chamber.

Democrats refuse to appeal, saying they want to negotiate a political solution with Republicans instead.

But Republicans, in a coalition with a dissident Democrat, say the court action dismissed the Democrats' challenge and leaves them in charge.

"As far as we're concerned, this case is unequivocal. When your case gets dismissed that's about as unequivocal as a 15-0 Yankee win over the Mets," Espada said.

The coalition of Republicans and one lone Democrat on Tuesday again tried to hold session, but they couldn't. They need 32 members. They have only 31.

The coalition refuses to negotiate a power sharing agreement. They say Democrats can continue to boycott Senate action, but they do it at their own political risk.

But Democrats view things much differently.

"Basically, the judge says 'Here. You deal with the quagmire. The court is not going to deal with it.' We have to deal with that quagmire. The dynamics were different on June 8th than today," Sampson said.

And so Democrats refuse to deal, refuse to go into session until Republicans agree to cut things down the middle.

Both sides rejected Democratic Gov. David Paterson's offer to mediate a temporary rule by an objective third party so the Senate can act on as many as 40 bills before the end of session June 22.


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