Government Justice Center Executive Director Cam Macdonald argued last week before the New York State Court of Appeals in the case Delgado v. State of New York. The case challenges the constitutionality of a 2018 law that allows an unelected committee to set executive and legislative compensation by re-writing existing laws.
According to the lawsuit, the Legislature either delegated its lawmaking power to an unelected committee or passed a non-final bill leaving details to be filled in by the committee. Either way, the 2018 law was unconstitutional. “They essentially left blanks to be filled in: ‘Decide whether or not everybody should get raises, make that decision for us, and then fill in the blanks and whatever blanks you fill in are going to supersede existing law where the numbers are already written down,’” argued Macdonald.
The law in question led to unconstitutional pay raises for both the legislative and the executive branches, removing the policymaking power from elected officials—and, in turn, the people of New York.
What they did supersedes existing law. This committee made these recommendations—that you actually cannot find anywhere, very easily—and they are now the law. This is outside the bounds of typical administrative law.
Watch the full oral argument here.