Pro Bono Counsel to Minority Party Legislators In Suit Against “Three Men”

February 15, 2005

Cleary Gottlieb commenced a lawsuit in Supreme Court in New York County on behalf of New York State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), Assemblyman Tom Kirwan (R-Newburgh), and the Urban Justice Center, against the so-called “Three Men” – Governor George Pataki, State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, and State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver – as well as the State Senate and the State Assembly.

The lawsuit challenges various rules and practices of the New York State Legislature and Governor that unjustifiably discriminate against legislators belonging to the minority party of each house on the basis of their political beliefs in violation of the United States Constitution, the New York State Constitution, and the laws of New York. The case will seek to establish principles of basic fairness for minority party legislators in a multiparty democracy so that they are not effectively barred from representing the grievances of their constituents.

Cleary Gottlieb’s work in preparing this case has extended over several years and included assistance to New York University Law School’s Brennan Center in preparing their report, The New York State Legislative Process: An Evaluation and Blueprint for Reform. The Brennan Center Report concluded that the New York State Legislature was the most dysfunctional in the nation and was attached to Complaint.