Governor Andrew Cuomo barred federal district and appeals court judges from officiating weddings in New York on Tuesday, saying he wanted to limit the influence of President Donald Trump’s appointees. In the process, he hamstrung a far greater number of judges chosen by Democratic presidents.
The state Senate passed a bill in June by a 61–1 margin expanding the list of public officials empowered to ‘solemnize’ marriages. State lawmakers, current and former mayors, county executives, tribal officials and federal judges with jurisdiction in the Empire State already had that authority. So did leaders of a secular humanist group called the New York Society for Ethical Culture.
The bill, proposed by Liz Kreuger, a Democrat from New York City’s Upper East Side, added federal district and appeals court judges from all over the United States. Cuomo vetoed it on December 24, saying he wanted to prevent Trump-appointed jurists from having an impact in his state.
The U.S. Senate has confirmed 181 judges from those categories since Trump took office. But research by DailyMail.com has determined that 621 sitting federal district and appeals judges appointed by Democratic presidents are still on the bench.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed an overwhelmingly popular bill this week that would have allowed federal district and appeals court judges from all over America to perform weddings in his state
Cuomo said in his veto message that he made his decision specifically to prevent President Donald Trump’s judicial appointees from having an impact in the Empire State, but there are also more than 600 sitting federal district and appeals court judges who were appointed by Democratic presidents
Those include 313 of Barack Obama’s picks, 257 of Bill Clinton’s, 50 from the Jimmy Carter era and even one who has been wearing judicial robes since Lyndon Johnson was in office.
Jack B. Weinstein, born in 1921, has been on the federal bench since LBJ appointed him in 1967. He holds ‘senior judge’ status on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Should the 99-year-old with to perform a wedding in New York, he would be permitted by the old standard because of where he serves.
Cuomo’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the trade-off of barring Trump appointees from non-New York districts from blessing marriages while also limiting the access of hundreds of others.
The governor said in a veto statement that he ‘cannot in good conscience support legislation that would authorize such actions by federal judges who are appointed by this federal administration. President Trump does not embody who we are as New Yorkers.’
Citing ‘diversity, tolerance and inclusion’ as his guiding principles, he said that ‘[b]ased on these reasons, I must veto this bill. Cuomo repeated it for emphasis: ‘Based on these reasons, I must veto this bill.’
If two-thirds of both the New York state Assembly and Senate vote to override Cuomo’s veto, the bill will still become law. Legislators will return from their holiday break on January 8.
Cuomo has long feuded with the president, expressing his support for legislation that would give state lawmakers access to Trump’s long-hidden income tax returns.
SUpporters of President Trump watched his motorcade pass in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday, the day Cuomo vetoed the bill expanding who can preside over weddings in New York
When the New York-native president announced he had changed his legal residence to Florida, Cuomo tweeted: ‘Good riddance. It’s not like @realDonaldTrump paid taxes here anyway. He’s all yours, Florida.’
This bill amends the Domestic Relations Law to expand the number of federal court judges who may perform marriage ceremonies in New York. I cannot in good conscience support legislation that would authorize such actions by federal judges who are appointed by this federal administration. President Trump does not embody who we are as New Yorkers. The cornerstones that built our great State are diversity, tolerance, and inclusion. Based on these reasons, I must veto this bill. Based on these reasons, I must veto this bill.
—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, vetoing Senate Bill S6330A
Kreuger shrugged off the governor’s protest this week.
‘Four years ago we gave the Governor the ability to perform marriages. Two years ago we gave legislators that ability. Marriage in New York is inclusive, equal, and open to all who want it. So when it was suggested to me that we expand it to Federal judges, I thought, “why not? The more the merrier!”‘ she said in a statement.
‘I’m certainly no fan of the judges this president is choosing to appoint – but since any New Yorker can become a minister online for $25 and legally perform weddings, I didn’t consider this to be a major issue.’
Kreuger told The New York Times that her legislation was ‘the least substantive or controversial bill I have ever introduced. I did not think the reasoning made sense.’
New York Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy said: ‘It’s hard to imagine a more petty, small action from a sitting governor, but that’s Prince Andrew in a nutshell.’