Two groups that represent more than 100 rabbis in Bergen County are calling for the State Senate to confirm Gov. Phil Murphy’s nomination of Rachel Wainer Apter to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
The move could put some pressure on State Sen.-elect Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) to sign off Wainer Apter’s nomination.
“Those of us who have had the privilege of knowing and working alongside her in our community know that she will offer thoughtfulness, clarity, courage and wisdom to her seat on the New Jersey Supreme Court,” said a joint statement by the North Jersey Board of Rabbis and the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County. “We are proud of this moment and wholeheartedly celebrate her nomination and her eventual confirmation to this honored role.”
Once Schepisi takes her Senate seat this week – she won a special election this month to fill the unexpired term of the late State Sen. Gerald Cardinale – she is one of four Bergen County senators who must sign off on the nomination of Wainer Apter, an Englewood resident, before the Senate begins the confirmation process.
Murphy announced that Wainer Apter, the director of the state Division of Civil Rights and a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was his pick to replace retiring Associate Justice Jaynee LaVecchia on the state’s top court.
“Wainer Apter has led a life of integrity and devotion to public service,” the rabbinical organizations said. “As a descendant of Jewish refugees fleeing anti-Semitic persecution, Wainer Apter has made fighting hatred and bigotry her life’s work. her advocacy for civil rights and being a voice for the voiceless is consonant with our shared Jewish values and human ideals.”
State Sen. Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus) has signed off on Wainer Apter. Two other Bergen Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo, have not yet announced their intention.
Schepisi is expected to face Democrat Ruth Dugan, the wife of former State Sen. Joseph Dugan, in the general election.