The United States Senate confirmed Julien Xavier Neals to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on June 8 by a vote of 66-33.
Neals, who was nominated by President Joe Biden on March 30 alongside 10 others, is the first federal judge confirmed during the Biden administration. He was previously county counsel and acting county administrator for Bergen County.
With Neals’ confirmation, “our nation is taking a historic step forward in elevating a highly qualified nominee to our judiciary,” said Gov. Phil Murphy in a prepared statement. “Throughout his career, Julien Neals has exemplified sound judgment and a commitment to the rule of law, and I know he’ll continue his record of distinguished service as a federal judge.
“I’d like to thank President Biden for his historic nomination, and Sens. Menendez and Booker both for their role in the selection process and for helping to ensure a swift and smooth confirmation. I know the President will work closely with both our U.S. Senators to fill the remaining vacancies on the New Jersey federal bench to reduce our heavy backlog of pending court cases,” Murphy said.
In April, U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, both Democrats, called New Jersey’s then-six district court vacancies – second only to California – a “judicial emergency.”
Bergen County Executive James Tedesco released a statement congratulating Neals, saying that everyone who’s ever worked with Neals knows he is “a gentleman of great character, capability, and integrity, and he will serve the federal bench with fairness and distinction.”
Neals worked as a part of Tedesco’s administration for six and a half years.
“While bittersweet, Bergen County’s loss is truly our nation’s gain,” Tedesco said.