State Senator George Borrello’s Sudden Legal Locus: Standing Up for Constituents or Divisive Posturing?

State Senator George Borrello’s Sudden Legal Locus: Standing Up for Constituents or Divisive Posturing?

State Sen. George Borrello is turning into the litigious lawmaker all of a sudden.

Twice in the span of three days it was Borrello’s legal arguments making news instead of his often fiery speeches on the Senate floor. On September 14 you could find Borrello sitting in a Rochester courtroom as his attorney, Bobbi Flowers Cox, argued on Borrello’s behalf in his lawsuit against the state Health Department’s isolation and quarantine rules. On Monday came news that Borrello was suing the state in federal court over provisions in the Concealed Carry Improvement Act that impose a background check and tax when buying ammunition for a gun.

Only time will tell if Borrello’s litigious streak is good or bad.

If the Fourth Department Appellate Division agrees with Borrello that the state Health Department had no statutory authority to change the state’s isolation and quarantine rules, or the U.S. District Court agrees the ammunition tax violates the Second Amendment, then the Sunset Bay Republican will be able to rightly claim he is standing up for constituents who are concerned that the state is trampling on their rights. It would certainly bring Borrello additional weight when he makes his case about the flaws of a particular piece of legislation on the Senate floor.

But what happens if the courts don’t end up agreeing with Borrello? It certainly doesn’t make his life any easier in the state Senate, where many of Borrello’s arguments are already countered by the state’s Democratic Party leaders as merely partisan posturing. And a pair of court defeats could make it harder for Borrello to make relationships with the rank-and-file Democrats that our region’s state senator needs to get some of his policy aims — like Nourish New York, itself a victim of administrative overreach that effectively gutted the program — back on track.

Whether he wins or loses in court in the coming weeks and months, one thing is certain — Borrello doesn’t believe in being a meek minority party representative.

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2023-09-25 06:31:45
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