Gov. Phil Murphy to Nominate First Black Woman to State Supreme Court

COLLEEN O'DEA | JUNE 5, 2020 

NJ Spotlight

Fabiana Pierre-Louis

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If ultimately confirmed to the New Jersey Supreme Court, Fabiana Pierre-Louis would become the first black woman to serve on the state’s highest court, the third black justice in its history and its first black justice in a decade. She clerked for the last black justice, John Wallace Jr., who was denied tenure by former Gov. Chris Christie in May 2010, setting off a firestorm in legal circles.

Her confirmation would bring to three the number of women on the seven-member court. Given her age, 39, Pierre-Louis could potentially serve for more than three decades on a court that has been known nationally for groundbreaking decisions in the areas of school funding and housing discrimination and been criticized as “activist” by conservatives.

About Fabiana Pierre-Louis

  • Born in Brooklyn, grew up in Irvington and now lives in Mount Laurel;
  • Daughter of Haitian immigrants; English was not her first language;
  • Received a BA in political science from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, then a JD from Rutgers Law School, Camden, graduating magna cum laude. While there, she was vice president of the Black Law Students Association and a Governor’s Executive Fellow at the Eagleton Institute of Politics;
  • Clerked for Wallace during the 2006-2007 court term. She will fill what had been Wallace’s seat, currently occupied by Associate Justice Walter Timpone, who joined the court in 2016;
  • Three years in private practice at Montgomery McCracken before joining the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey in 2010;
  • Worked in the general crimes, organized crime and gang units in the Newark office. Subsequently served as Attorney-in-Charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Trenton office from November 2016 to December 2018, then was in charge of the Camden office. She was the first black woman to serve as attorney-in-charge in Trenton or Camden;
  • Now partner at Montgomery McCracken, working in its Cherry Hill office and focuses on complex commercial litigation, white collar crime, and government investigations;
  • Board member of the Rutgers Law School-Camden Alumni Association, trustee of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey, prior board member of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, member of the Garden State Bar Association and the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey;
  • Named a “Diverse Attorney of the Year” in 2019 by the New Jersey Law Journal, recipient of the Garden State Bar Association Young Lawyer Award in 2017;
  • Married with two sons.
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