One of New Jersey’s largest Latino advocacy organizations, the Latino Action Network, has come out in support of Michael Noriega, who was nominated today by Gov. Phil Murphy to serve as an associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.
“In his nomination of Michael Noriega, Governor Murphy has demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that the diversity of our state is reflected on our state’s highest court,” said Javier Robles, the LAN president. “Mr. Noriega will also add his years of experience representing New Jersey residents in their times of greatest need.”
While Latinos make up about 22% of the state’s population, the New Jersey Supreme Court has been without a Latino justice since Faustino Fernandez-Vina, widely known as “Fuzzy,” reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in February 2022.
Latino elected officials and grassroots community leaders, along with white lawmakers like Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian P. Stack and State Sen. Joseph Cryan (D-Union), had actively pushed Murphy to fill a cant seat on the top court with a Hispanic.
The 45-year-old Noriega, who grew up in Union City, is an immigration attorney and former public defender who argued immigrant rights cases for the American Civil Liberties Union. His parents were born in Peru.