On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy nominated former Assistant U.S. Attorney Fabiana Pierre-Louis to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court.
If confirmed by the state Senate, she will be the first black woman to serve on the state’s highest court. Pierre-Louis would replace Associate Justice Walter Timpone, when he retires at the mandatory age of 70 on Nov. 10.
“It’s hard to put into words the honor that it is to be nominated to the highest court in the state of New Jersey,” Pierre-Louis told Essence, one of the first publications to report her nomination. “My goal, particularly as a prosecutor, was always to pursue justice and fairness in the law … It’s just a remarkable opportunity to continue in the very proud tradition of this state’s Supreme Court.”
She is currently at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP’s Cherry Hill office, where she is a partner in its white collar and government investigations practice group.
Pierre-Louis began her legal career as a law clerk for John Wallace Jr. during the 2006-2007 Supreme Court term, eventually going on to serve in Newark in 2010 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and was promoted to attorney-in-charge of the Trenton office and then the Camden office. In Camden, she supervised all aspects of criminal matters, including trials, investigations, and prosecutions of large-scale mail and wire fraud offenses, healthcare and government fraud matters, and narcotics, firearms and violent crime offenses.
In both Trenton and Camden, she was the first woman of color attorney-in-charge.
She also investigated and prosecuted her own individual caseload, with a focus on public corruption matters, federal narcotics offenses, export control violations, defense contracting fraud, national security matters, and child exploitation offenses.
“I have selected Fabiana after an exhaustive process. She has earned unanimous support and respect from her peers, from her colleagues, from our judicial advisory panel, and importantly, from the trailblazers who made today possible,” Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday morning.
“She has been described glowingly as both a ‘superstar’ and ‘a unique blend of intellect and humility.’ To a person, everyone with whom I or my team talked to about Fabiana spoke about her humanity, her empathy, and her character. They spoke about the kind of person she is – the kind of person who always seeks to serve others and always carries with her the pride and perspective of her own past,” he continued. “There is simply no better set of traits that I could hope for in a nominee – especially one who has the potential to serve our residents for a generation, ensuring that the perspectives of those who our laws and courts too often ignore are given a voice on the most prominent court in our state.”
Murphy noted that Pierre-Louis was not chosen due to the current national discussion around race and systemic bias, as such processes take months to years.
“However, given the challenges which are being brought to the forefront of our society, and the questions which will undoubtedly rise to reach our Supreme Court – core issues of socioeconomic equality and equity – there is no better meeting of an individual and the times,” he said.
Pierre-Louis is 39, meaning she could potentially serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court for 31 years.