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State Sen. Nicholas J. Sacco. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe).

Sacco will vote to confirm Murphy’s Supreme Court pick

Noriega could be Sacco’s 19th — and probably last — Supreme Court confirmation vote

By David Wildstein, May 19 2023 9:41 pm

State Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-North Bergen) has become the 12th state senator to support the confirmation of Michael Noriega as an associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

“His lifelong passion of representing the underserved of this state is a testament to his integrity,” Sacco said.   “Having a Latino Justice is integral to ensuring that this vibrant community has representation on our highest court and that the court represents the cultural fabric of our state.”

Gov. Phil Murphy announced his nomination of Noriega on Monday to replace Barry Albin.  Albin reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2012 after nineteen years on the Supreme Court.

A Union City native and former public defender, Noriega now needs nine more senators to reach the magic number of 21 to win Senate confirmation.

Assuming there are no unexpected retirements, this could be the final Supreme Court confirmation vote for Sacco, who is not seeking re-election this year.  If he reaches the Senate floor, Noriega would be the 19th time Sacco voted on the confirmation of a justice to the state’s highest court – including three chief justices.

Since Sacco joined the Senate in 1994 – he defeated State Sen. Thomas Cowan (D-Jersey City) in the Democratic primary the previous June – each of the seven seats on the Supreme Court will have turned twice if Noriega’s confirmation bid is successful.

Earlier this month, Sacco was re-elected mayor of North Bergen, a post he’s held since 1989, with 71% of the vote.

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