By Carl Campanile
January 19, 2018
Gregory P. Mango
The Manhattan Democratic Party has blackballed the nation’s most prominent’s women’s right organization — the National Organization of Women — just days before Saturday’s Women’s March.
The party’s judicial committee voted to reject a request to have a NOW representative serve on its panel to screen judicial nominations.
Party officials said the move was payback to NOW’s New York City chapter for protesting the nomination of Manhattan state Supreme Court Judge Lori Sattler at the party’s judicial convention last September.
NOW’s local president, Sonia Ossorio, was involved in the failed 11th-hour bid to scuttle Sattler’s selection along with activist Allen Roskoff, head of the Jim Owles Democratic Club.
NOW and other critics of Sattler claimed she was unfit for elevation to a permanent seat in state Supreme Court because she allowed evidence of a woman’s abortion to be submitted in a custody case in 2013.
The letter of opposition was co-signed by prominent Democrats, including Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer and Rep. Adriano Espaillat.
Arthur Schwartz, co-law chairman of the party, made a motion to give NOW a seat on the screening panel during Wednesday’s meeting. It was defeated in a 9-3 vote after some Democratic Party members said the NOW’s city chapter was out of line and unworthy.
Louise Dankberg, co-chair of the party’s judicial committee, defended the decision to punish NOW.
“It was totally inappropriate behavior. We didn’t want to reward this behavior,” Dankberg said.
“They went out and tried to ruin a perfectly qualified judge’s career. They tried to sabotage Judge Sattler.”
She said the action was directed at the irresponsible action of NOW’s local chapter, not the organization as a whole that has fought since the 1960s to advance women’s rights.
Ossorio, the local NOW president, did not immediately return messages for comment.
Roskoff of the Jim Owles Club slammed the Democratic Party’s decision.
“Preventing the nation’s foremost and most well respected woman’s rights organization the right to participate in Manhattans judicial selection two days before women’s rights supporters take to the street nationally just aids and abets Trump’s war against women,” Roskoff said.
“The committee objects to NOW handing out a flyer at their public judicial convention asking people to not support a judge who slammed and humiliated a women for having an abortion and the judge unjustifiably siding with the wealthy father who was represented by Trump’s private lawyer, Marc Kasowitz’s firm. This action is contrary to New York County’s historic and unconditional support for a woman’s right to choose and respect for woman’s right to advocate,” he said.