One of the cases that former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer might have expected to be a slam dunk was his six charges against former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso. . . .

A New York appeals court, however, said earlier this week that Spitzer lacked authority under state law to bring the suit. In a lengthy decision that threw out four of Spitzer’s six charges against Grasso, the court said “the authority to bring suit in what the attorney general perceives to be the interest of the state cannot trump contrary determinations about the public interest made by the legislature.’’ In other words, Spitzer was not at liberty as attorney general to decide on his own what is in the public interest.

It got him to the Governor’s Mansion, so it accomplished his goals.