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Rachel Wainer Apter. (Photo: State of New Jersey/Department of Law and Pubic Safety.)

Coughlin, Pascrell like Murphy’s top court pick

Gill congratulates Wainer Apter, but doesn’t say if she’ll vote for her

By David Wildstein, March 16 2021 9:07 am

Gov. Phil Murphy’s nominee for Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court received high marks on Monday evening from one of the highest-ranking people in state government, a longtime North Jersey congressman with a vote in the confirmation process.

Murphy has named Rachel Wainer Apter, the director of the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights and a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to replace Jaynee La Vecchia on the top court.

“Governor Murphy has chosen someone whose background in civil rights advocacy would be beneficial for this role,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who served as a local judge before his election to the legislature.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), who represents Wainer Apter’s hometown of Englewood in the U.S. House of Representatives, predicted that Wainer Apter would be “an excellent jurist on New Jersey’s highest court.

“She recognizes the need for courts to protect our most vulnerable and not just the powerful,” stated Pascrell.  “This is an inspired pick by Governor Murphy and an honor for Englewood and the ninth district.”

State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair), a former Senate Judiciary Committee member, offered no hints on her intentions regarding Wainer Apter, then to suggest that she likes the idea of a woman being named to fill LaVecchia’s seat.

“In the words of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ‘women belong in all the places where decisions are being made,’” Gill said.

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