Key Ruling in "Three Men" Case Against New York Governor, Assembly Speaker And Senate Majority Leader

November 22, 2005

Cleary Gottlieb won a key ruling in New York State Supreme Court, New York County for Republican Member of the Assembly Tom Kirwan, Democratic State Senator Liz Krueger and the Urban Justice Center. Cleary successfully defeated attempts by Democrats in the Assembly and the Republicans in the Senate to dismiss claims that they discriminate against members of the minority party in violation of New York state and federal constitutions.

The sustained claims concern the allocation of resources for staff support and constituent services and so-called “member items,” which are state funds members give to local activities. The Court also sustained the claim that the Governor is complicit in the stifling of the minority because he delegates to his Counsel the power to place his machine signature on Messages of Necessity requested by the majority in either House. However, the state constitution requires that the Governor personally sign the document. A Message of Necessity allows an immediate vote on a bill even though it has just been disclosed to the entire membership.