Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s final vote on a nomination to the New Jersey Supreme Court could be for a 40-year-old Jewish woman from her Bergen County-based legislative district.
The New Jersey Globe first reported on Sunday that Gov. Phil Murphy will nominate Rachel Wainer Apter, the director of the state Division of Civil Rights, to serve as an associate justice on the state’s top court.
Weinberg, who is retiring from the legislature at the end of her current term, is one of four Bergen County senators who must sign off on Wainer Apter before her nomination can be confirmed.
“I’ve met Rachel through her work at the Civil Rights Division,” Weinberg said. “I’ve worked with her on some pending legislation. All my interactions have been very positive.”
Weinberg said that Wainer Apter, an Englewood resident, had been under consideration for a Superior Court judgeship before the surprise announcement last week that Justice Jaynee LaVecchia would retire at the end of August.
“I’m looking forward to hearing her views vis-à-vis a Supreme Court seat,” said Weinberg.
Since joining the Senate in 2005, Weinberg has participated in confirmations for five of the seven seats on the New Jersey Supreme Court, including a protracted battle over Gov. Chris Christie’s decision not to offer a tenured renomination to Justice John Wallace, the only Black on the top court.
Wallace’s seat remained vacant for nearly six years before Christie and Democrats finally agreed on Walter F. Timone to fill the Supreme Court seat.
Weinberg was the lone senator to vote against Timpone.