Richard Ravitch, CC ’55, will not be allowed to take on the role of lieutenant governor, a New York State Supreme Court Justice ruled on Tuesday.
New York Governor David Paterson, CC '77, named the former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman to the post earlier this month, and Ravitch was sworn into office quickly and quietly, before political opponents could take action against the appointment. But when word got out, Republicans in the State Senate filed a temporary restraining order against Ravitch, keeping him from "acting with regard to exercising any of the powers accorded to the lieutenant governor of the state of New York." The Albany GOP argued that it was unconstitutional for Paterson to have picked someone to fill the position, which had been left empty since Paterson himself left it to fill in for former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
Paterson had appointed Ravitch as a means to alleviate political chaos in Albany, hoping that a lieutenant governor could negotiate state lawmakers out of the partisan legislative deadlock that began on June 8. Amidst other controversy in the state capitol, the appointment ultimately added fuel to the fire by provoking Republican resistance.
On July 15, State Supreme Court Justice William LaMarca heard arguments on the lawsuit filed by Republicans seeking to permanently block Ravitch. After about a week, he made his decision that the state's constitution can't allow for the appointment. Aligning with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who also spoke out against Paterson's move to name Ravitch, Justice LaMarca said the Governor does not have the power to fill such a vacancy.