Gov. Phil Murphy announced today that he will nominate Matt Platkin to be the next state attorney general, succeeding acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck; Platkin served as Murphy’s chief counsel from 2018 until 2020, when he became a partner at Lowenstein Sandler.
The New Jersey Globe reported last night that Platkin had beaten out a shortlist of four contenders, which also included Bruck, Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange), and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamel Semper, for the job.
“I know Matt will continue the attorney general’s office’s strong record of taking on polluters, fraudsters, and other criminals,” Murphy said at today’s announcement. “With Matt serving as our attorney general, I know that New Jersey’s storied laws, which have opened doors of opportunity and knocked down barriers of injustice for so many, will be in good hands.”
In his remarks, Platkin said that he hopes to use the attorney general’s office to enforce the state’s laws equitably and fairly, particularly with regards to gun safety and civil rights.
“As attorney general, my highest priority will always be keeping our residents safe,” Platkin said. “This means, in particular, bringing all necessary resources to bear to prevent violent crime. And because most violent crime involves firearms, we will use every tool at our disposal to tackle the root causes of gun violence.”
“Under my leadership, the office will also place great priority on protecting the civil rights of all our residents,” he continued. “We must acknowledge that for too many, the trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve is broken. We will redouble our efforts to repair that trust.”
Back in January 2018, when Platkin first joined Murphy’s team, the governor nominated Gurbir Grewal to serve as attorney general. Grewal held the role until July 2021, when he joined the Biden administration and was replaced by Bruck, who had previously been first assistant attorney general.
But Bruck was never formally nominated to serve out the remainder of Grewal’s term, which ended when Murphy’s second term began. After deliberating over a set of eight candidates, which included the shortlist of four as well as former acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig, former First Assistant Attorney General Ricardo Solano, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Vartan, Murphy selected Platkin.
A resident of Montclair, Platkin will be subject to senatorial courtesy from Essex County’s four senators, all Democrats, before facing the Senate confirmation process. Several key legislators, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Brian Stack (D-Union City), have already expressed their enthusiasm for Platkin’s nomination.
To conclude his remarks today, Platkin emphasized that the pursuit of justice will be his office’s guiding light.
“Justice is a pursuit,” he said. “It is not something you complete, perfect, accomplish, or achieve. It is a pursuit: a never-ending, tireless pursuit. A pursuit that’s full of disappointments and setbacks, incomplete steps and half-measures. But this pursuit of justice is not optional. It is, in fact, our obligation.”