By Peter J. Smith

ALBANY, New York, August 25, 2009 ( – Just as it seemed that his political fortunes could not sink any lower, New York Gov. David Paterson received another blow from a state appellate court rebuking him for his unconstitutional attempt to appoint a lieutenant governor during the New York Senate's recent political breakdown.

Up until a sudden June 8 leadership coup, the Democratic governor had expected the New York legislature to approve his bill to legalize same-sex “marriage.” The sudden political upheaval, however, doomed all chances of the bill's passage.

Paterson ordered the Senate into special session in June to prevent lawmakers from going on vacation before resolving control of a Senate bitterly divided 31 – 31 between Democrats and the Republican caucus. But as July wore on, Patterson, anxious to put an end to gridlock and resurrect the bill to legalize same-sex “marriage,” made the attempt to appoint his friend Richard Ravitch as the lieutenant governor and tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

Last week, the Appellate Division of New York's Supreme Court released a nine-page decision rebuking Paterson and affirming Supreme Court Judge William R. LaMarca's order to block the “unconstitutional” maneuver. The four-justice panel unanimously ruled that Paterson “simply does not have the authority to appoint a lieutenant governor.”

“The Governor's purported appointment of Mr. Ravitch was unlawful because no provision of the Constitution or of any statute provides for the filling of a vacancy in the office of lieutenant-governor other than by election, and only the temporary president of the Senate is authorized to perform the duties of that office during the period of the vacancy,” declared the high court.

The Appellate Court decision did allow Paterson to argue his case before the state's high court, the Court of Appeals. Paterson has made that appeal and an expedited hearing before the high court is scheduled for September 11.
The governor has hemorrhaged massive political support from New York State voters and his handling of the Senate crisis further embittered members of his own Democratic Party against him. Paterson's insistence on including the same-sex “marriage” bill he introduced in April as priority legislation for the special session threatened to throw control of the Senate completely into Republican hands, as Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx) vowed he was not above caucusing with Republicans and giving them the majority if it meant saving traditional marriage.

Paterson was elevated to the governorship from his post as lieutenant governor in March 2008 after his predecessor Eliot Spitzer stepped down after becoming embroiled in an FBI investigation into a prostitution ring. Paterson continued Spitzer's work of pushing New York to give marriage-like status to homosexual unions by ordering state agencies to recognize out-of-state homosexual “marriages” as true marriages, and then submitting a bill earlier in April to legalize same-sex “marriage.”

According to a Siena poll released yesterday, in a hypothetical 2010 scenario Paterson takes a drubbing from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, losing 23-65 percent. According to the poll former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also is expected to beat Paterson 56-33 percent.

New York voters as a whole however are disgusted with their leaders and over half of voters say that New York politicians have less integrity and a lower work ethic than state politicians of 40 or 50 years ago. Fifty-four percent of voters polled by Siena say they are “completely frustrated with our government and wish we could throw them all out and elect new leaders.”

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