An appeals court has ruled that Gov. David Paterson's appointment of a lieutenant governor was unlawful, upholding a constitutional challenge brought by the state Senate's minority leader.
A Brooklyn-based appellate panel said in an opinion Thursday that no state law or constitutional provision allows the lieutenant governor's post to be filled by anything but an election.
Senate Republicans had said Paterson's appointment of longtime government adviser Richard Ravitch was unconstitutional. Lawyers for the Democratic governor argued that state law allowed Paterson to fill the post until the next election.
The Democratic governor tapped longtime government advise Ravitch for the post on July 8 to break up a Senate leadership logjam and said state law allowed the appointment. Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos said the state constitution did not.
"I would love to get some clarity about what my status is, cause I feel as if I have been living in the middle of a sitcom," Ravitch told NBCNewYork, when asked if he was concerned about the ruling.
Asked if he felt like he didn't have a job, Ravitch said, "Well, I have a task."
The Appellate Division had ruled that Ravitch could serve as New York's lieutenant governor during the legal dispute but couldn't preside over the Senate, and the fight will now most likely move to a higher court.