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New Jersey Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Scutari calls Wainer Apter pick ‘intriguing’

Veteran Judiciary Committee chairman will preside over his 13th Supreme Court pick

By David Wildstein, March 14 2021 8:30 pm

As the longest-serving Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman in New Jersey history, Nicholas Scutari has presided over twelve nominations to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Rachel Wainer Apter will be his 13th, after Gov. Phil Murphy announces the nomination of the former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk on Monday as his pick to succeed Associate Justice Jaynee LaVecchia.

“It’s intriguing nomination and I look forward to meeting her and talking to her,” Scutari told the New Jersey Globe.

Since becoming Judiciary Chairman, Scutari has seen it all – including four failed nominees when Chris Christie was governor – and has a reputation for effectively managing his committee.

Wainer Apter, 40, is currently the director of the state Division of Civil Rights.  The Harvard Law School graduate clerked for three federal judges – including Ruth Bader Ginsburg – and worked as an American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney on a U.S. Supreme Court challenge to a Colorado baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple.

Scutari’s committee voted down Christie’s nominations of Bruce Harris and Philip Kwon to the top court in 2012.  Two more Christie nominees – David Bauman and Mark Hanna – never made it to the Judiciary Committee.

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