Home>Feature>Wainer Apter now has 11 senators saying they’ll vote to confirm her to N.J. Supreme Court

Rachel Wainer Apter, Gov. Phil Murphy's pick for a seat on the New Jersey Supreme Court, with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo: Rachel Wainer Apter.)

Wainer Apter now has 11 senators saying they’ll vote to confirm her to N.J. Supreme Court

Lagana is first Bergen senator to sign off on Murphy top court pick

By David Wildstein, March 16 2021 3:53 pm

The total number of Senators saying they will vote yes on Gov. Phil Murphy’s nomination of Rachel Wainer Apter is now up to eleven.

Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch), Brian Stack (D-Union City) and Nicholas Sacco (D-North Bergen) and Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus) are now on record as ready to vote to confirm Wainer Apter if her nomination reaches the full Senate.

Lagana, a Bergen County Democrat, is the first home county senator to sign off on Wainer Apter – a critical step in the path to Senate confirmation.  Under the unwritten rules of senatorial courtesy, if any of the other three Bergen senators block her nomination, it won’t be able to advance.

“My support was ultimately cemented after discussing at great length with her the thoughtful and reasoned approach she would have to serving on New Jersey’s highest court and seeing the passion she has for defending civil rights and upholding the rule of law,” Lagana said.

Gopal, Stack and Sacco had issued statements praising Wainer Apter on Sunday evening.

“Based on everything I’ve read and reviewed, I will be voting for her nomination,” Gopal said on Tuesday.

Stack told the New Jersey Globe that he “will be voting yes on her appointment.”

Sacco said that he looked “forward to being able to vote yes on her appointment to New Jersey’s Supreme Court.”

“The more I learn about Rachel Wainer Apter and the depth of experience she has in fighting for our most vulnerable communities, the more I am impressed,” said Sacco.

Lagana said that Wainer Apter’s “impressive legal background and personal dedication to ensuring all people receive equal treatment and protection under the law make her a truly inspiring choice to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court.”

“The merit of her appointment is clear when you consider her extensive appellate experience, having appeared and argued cases in multiple states,” said Lagana. “And, of course, she has learned so much from the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg through a coveted U.S. Supreme Court clerkship.”

Earlier today, State Sens. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge) and Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Barrington) announced their support their support of her confirmation.

Former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland), who praised Wainer Apter’s credentials in a strong statement of support on Sunday night, told the New Jersey Globe on Tuesday that he intends to vote yes on her confirmation.

In addition to Codey, Vitale and Cruz-Perez, four other senators have publicly announced that they will support her nomination: Joseph Cryan (D-Union), Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield), Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) and Robert Singer (R-Lakewood).

Murphy announced his nomination of Wainer Apter on Monday to succeed retiring Associate Justice Jaynee LaVecchia.

The eleven votes puts Wainer Apter more than half-way to the magic number of 21 she needs for confirmation to a post she could hold for nearly 30 years.

But Wainer Apter will need to obtain the backing from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari and Senate President Steve Sweeney before the nomination can advance.

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