Filling a Vacancy in the Office of Lieutenant Governor: History and Hochul’s Opportunity

Kathy Hochul is the ninth New York lieutenant governor to become governor through the state constitutional process to fill a vacancy.* But she will be just the second to appoint a successor to the office she herself vacates. David Paterson was the first. This  provides her a unique opportunity to Read more…

Why Ruth Bader Ginsburg was Right to Speak Out in 2016

This opinion essay was originally published in the Times-Herald Record during the 2016 presidential campaign. Gerald Benjamin is no longer an enrolled Republican. Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been widely and wrongly condemned for her critical remarks about Donald Trump’s fitness to be president. “Partisan.” “Inappropriate for Read more…

Ruling Paves Way for Massive Voting Rights Change to School Board Elections Across New York

On May 25 in White Plains, U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel ruled that the at-large system used for electing the nine members of the East Ramapo School Board denied the district’s Black and Latino voters effective choice in its elections, violating §2 of the Federal Voting Rights Act (VRA). Under an at-large system every voter votes to fill each board position, allowing a disciplined majority to control all seats. A majority of the East Ramapo district’s voting population is Hasidic Jews. The School Board has long been dominated by members recruited and endorsed by the leaders of this religious community and elected at-large through the use of block voting.

The Coronavirus and a “New” State Legislative Process

It’s impossible to quarrel with the New York State Senate and Assembly amending their rules last month to allow remote, electronic attendance and voting at legislative sessions during the current murderous pandemic. In-person sessions certainly would have qualified in size and character as the kinds of large gatherings that have Read more…

%d bloggers like this: