Home>Congress>Updated: Senate confirms Farbiarz, Kirsch as federal judges

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez stands watch as his colleagues vote to invoke cloture on two nominees for judge of the U.S. District Court from New Jersey on May 2, 2023. (Photo: C-SPAN).

Updated: Senate confirms Farbiarz, Kirsch as federal judges

By David Wildstein, May 02 2023 1:34 pm

This story was updated at 4:28 PM, at 5:57 PM, and 6:01 PM.

The United States Senate voted to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominations of Michael Farbiarz and Robert Kirsch as judges of the U.S. District Court, with bi-partisan support,

Farbiarz was confirmed by a vote of 65-34; Kirsch was confirmed, 57-42.

New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators, Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, had been advocating for the two nominations.

Earlier today, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on Farbiarz by a 65-34 votes, and Kirsch by a vote of 57-42.

Menendez called the two “phenomenal nominees to fill New Jersey’s final judicial vacancies.”

Farbiarz is the general counsel to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a former federal prosecutor.  Kirsch is a New Jersey Superior Court judge and also a former Assistant U.S. Attorney.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Menendez called Farbiarz “a shining star in New Jersey’s leadership community.

“His breadth and depth prepare him well to serve the Garden State as a fair and effective federal judge.”

Kirsch, Menendez pointed out, originally became a state court judge at the recommendation of then-State Sen. Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield), now a congressman, and was nominated by a Democratic governor, Jon Corzine.

“He has consistently earned bipartisan support in his long and impressive career in public service,” Menendez noted.  “He has led a passionate effort to improve New Jersey’s juvenile justice system, earning him numerous awards and widespread recognition.  This commitment to fairness and impartiality – values  he has demonstrated throughout his career – will surely be an asset while serving on the federal bench.”

Booker called Farbirarz and Kirsch “highly qualified and committed to upholding the law and serving their communities with integrity.”

“As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I had the opportunity to closely review their records and get to know them during their nomination process,” said Booker.  “I have no doubt that they will serve the people of New Jersey with integrity and honor and will bring their wealth of legal knowledge and experience to the federal bench.”

The confirmation of Farbiarz and Kirsch brings the number of district court vacancies in New Jersey to zero, although two more seats are coming up in the fall: John Michael Vazquez is retiring in September, and Kevin McNulty is going on senior status in October.

Farbiarz is a Democrat and Kirsch is an unaffiliated voter who changed his registration shortly after January 6, 2021.

“They are the final pieces of the puzzle as I, alongside Senator Booker and the Biden administration, have worked to fill not one, not two, but eight vacancies that were existing,” said Menendez.  “It was a judicial emergency on the District Court of New Jersey.”

Menendez said that the number of vacancies was so dire in one of the busiest courts in the nation that “work ground to a halt, as a result creating a backlog that delayed justice for victims of crimes and plaintiffs in court.”

“We had our work cut out for us, but putting our heads down and noses to the grindstone, Senator Booker and I can now proudly say we have shepherded eight well-qualified nominees through the process,” he said.  “These are not judicial activists.”

Biden has nominated and confirmed six U.S. District Court judges since taking office in 2021: Julian X. Neals, Zahid Quraishi, Christine O’Hearn, Karen Williams, Georgette Castner, and Evelyn Padin.

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