Murphy Names First Black Woman to NJ Supreme Court

Fabiana Pierre-Louis is a former federal prosecutor

Fabiana Pierre-Louis
State of New Jersey

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy named attorney Fabiana Pierre-Louis to the state Supreme Court on Friday, making her the first black woman to sit on the state's highest court.

Pierre-Louis, 39, would succeed Walter Timpone, who reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 in November. She is Murphy’s first pick for the high court and must now be confirmed by the Democrat-led Senate.

Pierre-Louis is a Cherry Hill-based partner specializing in white-collar crime and government investigations in the firm of Montgomery McCracken.

Prior to that role, she spent nine years in the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey, according to her official biography. Her time as a federal prosecutor included stints as the attorney-in-charge of the department's Camden and Trenton offices.

“Many years ago my parents came to the United States from Haiti with not much more than the clothes on their backs and the American dream in their hearts. I think they have achieved that dream beyond measure because my life is certainly not representative of the traditional trajectory of someone who would one day be nominated to the Supreme Court of New Jersey,” she said.

Murphy, a Democrat, said that Pierre-Louis would carry on the legacy of John Wallace, who was the last black justice on the state’s highest court and who she clerked for. Murphy lamented that Wallace was not renominated when his first term expired in 2010 — the first time that had happened under the state’s current constitution.

“A core tenet of my Administration is a commitment to an independent, fair-minded judiciary that reflects the immense diversity of our great state,” he said in a statement.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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