After Governor Paterson's appointment of Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor was struck down again recently in a state appeals court, it appeared to be curtains for one of Paterson's most popular moves in an attempt to combat the state senate takeover this spring. But yesterday the state's top court gave the governor and Ravitch a glimmer of hope after they were unexpectedly tough on the state senator who took the appointment to court, Republican Minority Leader Dean Skelos.

Judges during the hourlong hearing yesterday focused in on whether Skelos would just like to see the office remain lieutenant governor's office to remain vacant for so long because there is no clear constitutional path laid out to name a replacement. For the first time in the battle over the appointment, judges also questioned what right Skelos had in bringing the case to court and worried about it opening the door for individual lawmakers to bring lawsuits against governors.

Judges also questioned Paterson's lawyers to explain why no one before the governor had thought to go ahead an name a lieutenant governor previously. Judge Kathleen Rice asked Paterson's side, “How come nobody discovered it before you?” Paterson's lawyer pointed to precedent in other state's governors doing the same and said this would be the first time a court struck the move down if the last appellate court's decision stands.

Paterson was not expected to gain much traction at this next level of appeals (expected to be the last stop in the battle) with a court made up mostly of Pataki appointees. But after yesterday's hearing, one of his lawyers told NY1, "There's no question, this was the best day he's had in court so far, this is the best reception he's had to the arguments." The court is expected to issue a decision in the next couple of weeks—one possible outcome is that they may throw the case to the State Legislature to decide, where Skelos would just be one vote among the Senate that has once again fallen back into Democratic control.