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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez watches the U.S. Senate tally votes on the confirmation of Georgette Castner to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge on March 31, 2022. (Screenshot: NJ Globe via CSPAN).

Senate confirms Castner as federal judge

McCracken Montgomery partner is youngest woman to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge in N.J.

By David Wildstein, March 31 2022 1:59 pm

The United States Senate today confirmed Georgette Castner as a U.S. District Court Judge for New Jersey, making the 42-year-old former chief of staff to a state assemblyman the youngest woman to serve as a federal judge in the 232-year history of the District of New Jersey.

Castner was confirmed by a vote of 52-47.

Two Republican senators supported the confirmation of Castner: Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

President Joe Biden nominated Castner to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench on November 3 after receiving recommendations from U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.

“I’m confident her outstanding qualifications and her commitment to justice will make her an excellent, impartial federal judge,” Menendez said.  “During her 15 years of experience in state and federal litigation, Ms. Castner has gained a reputation as one of the brightest and most hardworking attorneys in our state.”

Booker said that he was celebrating Castner’s confirmation.

“She is extraordinarily well-qualified to serve our state and our country as a federal judge. Booker stated.  “She brings to the federal bench her extensive legal expertise and a clear commitment to the people of the great State of New Jersey.”

A highly-regarded litigator, Castner is a partner at Montgomery McCracken, a top mid-Atlantic law firm.  She is the second top judge to emerge from Montgomery McCracken’s roster of partners.  In 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy nominated Fabiana Pierre-Louis to serve as an associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

U.S. District Court Judge Georgette Castner appears before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. (Photo: CSPAN).

She launched her public service career as chief of staff to Assemblyman (now Trenton Mayor) Reed Gusciora and also worked for Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman when she served in the State Assembly.

Castner will occupy Seat 10 on the District Court in New Jersey, a seat that was first occupied by Frederick Lacey, a former crime-busting U.S. Attorney and a legendary figure in state legal circles.  The seat has been vacant since Judge Jose Linares retired in 2019.

The Senate voted to invoke cloture on Castner’s nomination on March 16 by a vote of 49-46 with Graham and Collins voting with the Democratic majority.

Castner is the one of four women named by Biden to fill the six vacant seats; Biden’s District Court judges have been about 75% female.  Christine O’Hearn and Karen Williams have already won Senate confirmation, and Evelyn Padin is awaiting a vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Two other Biden nominees, Julien X. Neals and Zahid Quraishi, have also been confirmed by the Senate.

Castner is just the 92nd U.S. District Court Judge to serve since President George Washington nominated David Brearley, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, in 1789.  She is the 58th district court judge nominated by Biden to be confirmed by the Senate.

“Through her extensive litigation experience, Georgette has earned wide respect throughout New Jersey’s legal community, and I know that she will honorably serve the people of New Jersey in her new role,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “I applaud President Biden for this nomination and Senator Menendez and Senator Booker for supporting this outstanding candidate.”

This story was updated at 2:56 PM with comment from Menendez and Booker and at 4:25 PM with comment from Gov. Phil Murphy.  

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