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NY-13: Straniere Nominated for Judgeship, Craziest Race of All Time Gets Crazier

by: James L.

Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 12:30 PM EDT

Jonah has the whole sordid story in the diaries, but let's take a look at this new curve ball. From the New York Post:

Republican Robert Straniere, who's running for Rep. Vito Fossella's seat, was nominated as a Manhattan judicial candidate last night - a move that could pave the way for the disgraced congressman to get back on the ballot and run for re-election.

Several Republican sources said the New York County GOP made the nomination with the understanding that Straniere would accept it.

The move was apparently made with the backing of former Borough President Guy Molinari and state Sen. Andrew Lanza, who hope to entice disgraced retiring GOP Rep. Vito Fossella back into the race. With Straniere accepting the judgeship nod, he would be wiped off the ballot and the local GOP could appoint a replacement candidate. The only problem? For now, at least, Straniere says that he won't play ball:

But Straniere, a former Staten Island assemblyman who's been at odds with fellow Republicans, hasn't been contacted about the judicial post and "unequivocally" plans to turn it down, his spokesman told The Post.

"He's heard rumors, but he doesn't know anything about it," spokesman Marco DeSena insisted. "There is no chance . . . If contacted, he will say no and he very much expects to be the next congressman from Staten Island and Brooklyn."

And Fossella himself? Still not sounding eager:

"I've maintained all along that I'm not a candidate," Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) said in a telephone interview. "That's still the case now. Very simply, nothing has changed." [...]

Given the turmoil in the markets, Fossella said he listened to entreaties from Molinari and others "out of respect."

Said Fossella, "A lot of good people have again urged me to reconsider. I've been very blessed and humbled by that. I'm grateful. But at the end of it all, I'm still not a candidate."

We'll find out in short order if Molinari and the boys are able to strong-arm Straniere from this race; as the Advance reports, Straniere has until midnight to accept and be placed in nomination. It seems unlikely, but you just can't predict what's going to happen next in New York's 13th, home of the greatest political soap opera of our time.

James L. :: NY-13: Straniere Nominated for Judgeship, Craziest Race of All Time Gets Crazier
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best line yet
"the fact that he's looking at an October court date plus possible jail time for his DWI charge potentially complicates things"

Elizabeth Benjamin, NY Daily News

Straniere vs Mcmahon for judgeship
The fight is on no matter what happens.

Philip Straniere (R + Ind) vs Judith Mcmaahon (D + C + WFP) for a state supreme court judgeship.

Out of curiosity...
Does anyone know the composition of the NY Supreme Court?  If they are appointed I'd imagine repulicans hae an edge considering Pataki was Governor for 12 of the last 14 years.

Pretty wicked set-up in NY "Supreme Court"
Well first off, apparently the NY Supreme Courts are their trial courts, and their top-of-the-line court of last resort is called the New York Court of Appeals. From wikipedia, "The Court of Appeals consists of seven judges - one chief judge and six associate judges - who are now appointed by the governor to 14-year terms. Judges must mandated to retire at the age of 70"

The seven Judges (the lower court ones are called Justices in NY) are listed as:

Chief Judge Judith Kaye (1993) - Cuomo 1993 (retire '08)
Carmen Ciparick (1994) - Spitzer 2007 (retire '12)
Robert Smith (2004) - Pataki (retire '14)
Victoria Graffeo (2000) - Pataki (retire '22)
Susan Read (2003) - Pataki (retire '17)
Eugene Pigott, Jr. (2006) - Pataki (retire '16)
Theodore Jones (2007) - Spitzer

Kaye wrote dissent (agreed by Ciparick) in the court not allowing Same-sex marriage, while Smith wrote the majority 4-2 opinion (the judge before Jones didn't take part). So the four Pataki judges ruled against same-sex marriage. One would have to imagine that Jones nominated by Spitzer would be for it. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear any of Pataki's judges go away until 2014 when Smith's term is over (lead against same-sex marriage ruling).

So at this point, the NY Court of Appeals is 4-3 GOP, similar to the SCOTUS which is 5-4 GOP (although 7-2 GOP by appointment).


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