Paterson Names Lt. Gov.; Midnight Court Session Blocks Appointment; Senate Chaos Continues

<p>Richard Ravitch in a photo courtesy of</p>
Richard Ravitch in a photo courtesy of

Well, that didn’t take long.

At 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, Governor David Paterson appointed a Lieutenant Governor in an attempt to end the two-party standoff in the State Senate.

By 1:00 a.m., a judge blocked the appointment.

It was a fast and furious six hours.

Governor Paterson appeared on TV screens statewide Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. to announce that he’d appointed Richard Ravitch to the post of Lieutenant Governor. The job’s been empty since Paterson was elevated to the Governor’s office. Ravitch used to run the public agency that manages all of New York City’s public transit and is credited with solving its financial crisis a number of years ago.

Paterson denounced what he called the “embarassing spectacle of paralysis” in the Senate, said he had done all he could do to negotiate with and to pressure Senators into ending the fight, and indicated he had no choice left.

“Should there be legal action, I just ask that it be done expeditiously,” he said.

Boy, was it ever.

Republicans called the move unconstitutional and a roadblock to further negotiations. They started looking for a court to argue in and found one in a State Supreme Court judge in Nassau County, who signed a restraining order at 12:23 a.m. Thursday. The order prevents Ravitch from taking the oath of office.

One problem with that: Ravitch was sworn in privately more than four hours earlier. At about the same time, homes across the state began to receive automated political calls from Paterson asking for their support.

The legal fight resumes Friday morning. Meantime, Paterson and his new Lieutenant Governor designee appear at an 11:30 news conference today.

The Senate will be forced back into chambers for yet another extraordinary session today, at which nothing will be done.