Sen. Diaz Sr. Opposes Cuomo’s High Court Pick, Compares Gov To Caesar (Updated)
Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. devoted his latest “What You Should Know” polemic to the mini dust-up over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first Court of Appeals nominee, CUNY Law Prof. Jenny Rivera, which the Bronx Democrat sees as an effort by the governor to further divide the already divided state Senate.
You should consider the messenger on this one, particularly since Diaz is particularly proud of his heritage (he, like Rivera, is Puerto Rican), and quick to accuse his fellow elected officials of giving Latinos the short end of the stick.
In short, Diaz Sr. says he agrees with the Senate Republicans that Rivera, who worked for Cuomo when he was state attorney general, is not sufficiently qualified to serve on New York’s highest court “due to the fact that she has neither been a judge nor a litigator.”
And the senator believes Cuomo selected Rivera over a host of superior Latino candidates – and he does name names – to further his own (rather nefarious, in the senator’s eyes) political agenda.
“Apparently Governor Cuomo knew that this tactic of divide and conquer could be used with skill to appoint one of his friends, knowing that she is not the most qualified and does not have the necessary experience compared to others, but knowing that any non-Hispanic who would vote against her would create the perception that he or she was Anti-Hispanic,” Diaz Sr. wrote. “Governor Cuomo could win points with the Hispanic community and Hispanic media by defending her nomination.”
“You should know that I believe that if Governor Cuomo wanted to appoint a Hispanic and not create the mess as he has done now by bringing more division to the Senate Floor, he should have spent some time with the Senate Leadership and Hispanic Senators.”
“…You should know – and the world should know – that we in New York State have many Puerto Rican, Dominican and other Hispanic Judges with a lot more experience and better qualifications than Jenny Rivera.”
“She’s not – and I repeat, not – the best we have, and the Governor knows it. But it’s a lot better for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s presidential ambitions to use the Hispanic community and the Hispanic media to create a ‘divide and conquer’ crisis.”
Diaz Sr. listed a number of Latino judges he believes would have been a better pick for Cuomo than Rivera, including Rolando T. Acosta, a Dominican-American appeals court judge.
Of course, Cuomo is limited in his options when it comes to appointing a new court of appeals judge (in this case, to replace Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, a Mario Cuomo appointee who reached the mandatory retirement age last year and had to step off the bench). He must select from a list perpared for him by the Commission on Judicial Nomination.
It just so happens that Asocta is on that list.
So was Margarita Rosa, who is also Puerto Rican and a former Commissioner of the NYS Division of Human Rights (during the first Cuomo administration). She’s currently the executive director of Grand Street Settlement, a community service agency in New York City.
She also was the only candidate on the list that was rated “not qualified” by the New York State Bar Association.
Cuomo gets another shot at filling a high court seat as a result of the untimely death last November of Judge Theodore Jones, the only African-American on the court. A list of candidates for Jones’ seat will be submitted to Cuomo in March.
Rivera did make it out of the Judiciary Committee after a tense two-day grilling period. Her nomination is scheduled to come up for a vote before the entire Senate on Monday.
UPDATE: In my haste to write this post, I overlooked the very first paragraph, in which Diaz Sr. compares Cuomo to Julius Caesar. Normally, this wouldn’t be noteworthy, since the senator is known for his colorful – if not downright inflammatory – commentary.
But since it comes on the heels of yesterday’s tempest in a teapot that saw Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin roundly criticized for comparing the governor to two fascist dictators – Hitler and Mussolini – it seems only fair to point out that Diaz Sr. opened his commentary thusly:
“You should know that even though it is impossible to say for certain, it is Julius Caesar who has been attributed to the quote ‘Divide et impera’ which translates from Latin to mean ‘Divide and Conquer.’”
“You should also know that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo – one more time – has proven to be a very Machiavellian and skillful politician. This time, using that old tactic of ‘divide and conquer’ to pit the Hispanic community against the non-Hispanic community, especially the Republicans in the New York State Senate to secure the nomination of Miss Jenny Rivera, a ‘Puerto Rican,’ to the State of New York’s top Court, the Court of Appeals.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on February 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo, Bronx, Democrats, Downstate NY, State Senate, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|