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Fabiana Pierre-Louis is nominated to the New Jersey Supreme Court by Governor Phil Murphy. (Photo: Chris Pedota.)

Lack of judicial diversity is ‘unacceptable,’ Murphy says

By Joey Fox, November 15 2021 4:01 pm

Responding today to a New Jersey Globe report that around 80% of the state’s judiciary is white, Gov. Phil Murphy said that the lack of diversity is unacceptable and is a status quo that needs to be changed. 

“That’s a reality that clearly is unacceptable in the most diverse state in America,” Murphy said. “[People of color] deserve a state, in whatever room or chamber they walk into, that reflects that diversity… We need to continue to make more progress and we will.”

Murphy also noted that judicial diversity, and governmental diversity in general, is an issue his administration has worked on for a long time.

“It’s not something that we just realized today,” he said. “This is something that we are actively working on moving the needle on, and working with our Senate partners. We’ve got a very good, constructive relationship there, but we need to clearly make a lot more progress, and I’m committed to that.”

Of the seven justices on the state Supreme Court, only one was nominated by Murphy: Justice Fabiana Pierre-Louis, who became the first-ever Black woman on the state’s top court when she was sworn in on September 1, 2020. Murphy’s second nominee, Rachel Wainer Apter, is white. 

Assuming the governor serves out his complete term, he’ll have the chance to appoint three more justices when Justices Faustino Fernandez-Vina, Barry Albin, and Lee Solomon reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 in February 2022, July 2022, and August 2024, respectively.

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