Home>Feature>Pierre-Louis sworn in, becoming first black woman to sit on New Jersey’s high court

Associate Justice Fabiana Pierre-Louis is sworn in to the New Jersey Supreme Court. (Photo: Courtesy of New Jersey Supreme Court)

Pierre-Louis sworn in, becoming first black woman to sit on New Jersey’s high court

Justice Walter Timpone resigned Monday to open up new justice’s seat

By Nikita Biryukov, September 01 2020 4:51 pm

Fabiana Pierre-Louis was sworn in Tuesday, putting a black woman on the state’s highest court for the first time in history.

The former federal prosecutor was unanimously confirmed by the State Senate last week.

New Jersey Supreme Court Associate Justice Jaynee LaVecchia swore in the new justice during a private ceremony. A formal swearing in will be held at a later date.

Justice Walter Timpone, whom Pierre-Louis replaced on the court, resigned on Monday to ensure Pierre-Louis, 39, could be sworn in in time for the new court session. The New Jersey Globe reported the maneuver Monday.

“I personally enjoyed getting to know our newest justice. After an extensive vetting process that included but is not limited to thoroughly reviewing her nomination, multiple meetings, interviews and background, I found her to be extremely qualified for this important position,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden). “She has an abundance of legal talent, the appropriate judicial demeanor, and the indescribable characteristics we look for in jurists. I believe she will be an excellent associate justice and future leader of the Court.”

Timpone was set to retire from the court on Nov. 10, when he would have reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. He told the New Jersey Globe he intends to return to private practice following his departure from the high court.

LaVecchia handled the swearing in in Chief Justice Stuart Rabner’s stead because Rabner is sitting Shiva for his mother, Stella Rabner, who died over the weekend at age 95.

The court will hold its first action of the session, a conference meeting, on Sept. 9.

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