One day after Gov. Phil Murphy announced the nomination of Michael Noriega to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court – the first Hispanic since Faustino Fernandez-Vina retired fifteen months ago — the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey has endorsed the pick.
“This is an important nomination. Although Latinos represent the largest minority population in this State, no Latino sits on the Court today, and no Latina has ever sat on the Court,” the organization of Hispanic attorneys said in a statement. “Once confirmed, Michael will bring much-needed Latino representation to one of our State’s most important and respected institutions.”
But while endorsing Noriega and urging his confirmation, HBA-NJ President Albertina Webb also said that Murphy has unfinished business.
“Although we are thrilled about Michael’s appointment, we strongly believe that the New Jersey Supreme Court should also have a qualified Latina sitting on it,” she said.
The group said Noriega was “extraordinarily qualified to be an Associate Justice and we expect him to proudly promote and serve justice for all New Jerseyans.”
“As part of his practice, Michael represents core members of New Jersey’s underrepresented communities, including immigrants fighting for their right to stay in this country. He previously worked as a public defender,” the HBA-NJ said. “He has devoted his career to ensuring that everyone has a voice, irrespective of their race, color, religion, or socioeconomic status. And we are confident that, if confirmed, he will bring that same ideology to the Court and advance the HBA-NJ’s mission of a more inclusive and diverse legal system.”
The 45-year-old immigration lawyer grew up in Union City as the son of immigrants from Peru.
“His appointment will ensure that the New Jersey Supreme Court will have Justices who are not only qualified but also representative of the communities they serve,” said Webb. “Michael’s appointment is a step in the right direction, and we look forward to his speedy confirmation by the Senate.”