Historic moment: 1st Black woman confirmed as justice on New Jersey Supreme Court
New Jersey’s state Senate has confirmed the nomination of the first Black woman to sit on the state's Supreme Court.
Fabiana Pierre-Louis, a 39-year-old attorney in private practice and a former federal prosecutor, was nominated by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy in June to succeed Justice Walter Timpone.
She received much praise from state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
“She is going to be a shining example on this Court, she's going to be someone each and every one of us are proud to have cast a vote for,” said state Sen. Troy Singleton.
“We are breaking, not just the glass ceiling, we’re smashing it,” said state Sen. Shirley Turner.
The lawmakers also said that Pierre-Louis was chosen for her qualifications and not for her race or gender.
“I don't believe we should vote for her because of diversity. We should vote for her because of her ability. And her ability is exceptional,” said state Sen. Gerald Cardinale. “I'm skeptical of any nominee, so I look for the flaws. And I couldn't find any. Couldn't find any flaws. I look for people who are objecting, calling my office and objecting to the nominee, because that's how I learn about her flaws. We all do. No one called my office against her.”
The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Pierre-Louis was the first person to go to law school in her family. She could take her seat as early as next week and could potentially serve 30 years on the Court.
“And for so many young boys and girls in our state, where representation matters, they will be able to point to someone who looks like them and say, ‘Because she did it, I can do it too,’” said Singleton.
The New Jersey Globe
broke the story that Justice Timpone says he will resign next week to allow Pierre-Louis to join the court. Timpone was facing mandatory retirement in November when he turned 70.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.