New Jersey just named the first Black woman to sit on the their Supreme Court in the state’s 224-year history, NJ.com reports.
Fabiana Pierre-Louis was sworn in to the New Jersey Supreme Court last week, making history as the first Black woman to occupy a seat in the state’s 224-year history. Pierre-Louis is the daughter of Haitian immigrants who moved to Brooklyn before eventually settling in Irvington, New Jersey.
Her father was a taxi driver and her mother worked at a hospital in Manhattan. A first generation American, English is Pierre-Louis’ second language. She worked hard throughout school, eventually receiving financial aid from New Jersey’s Educational Opportunity Fund to pursue her undergraduate degree at Rutgers University. She graduated with honors, going on to pursue her law degree at Rutgers Law, eventually landing a job as a clerk for the last Black member of the court, Justice John Wallace Jr.
For nine years, Pierre-Louis worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, becoming the first woman of color to run both the Trenton and Camden locations. Now, she’s officially become the first Black woman justice to occupy a seat in the Supreme Court, nominated by Governor Phil Murphy this past June. Her appointment makes her the third Black justice in the court’s history and the youngest at 39-years-old, with an age gap of nearly two decades in comparison to the other justices. Due to her age, Pierre-Louis will serve a mandatory seven year term before state lawmakers offer her lifetime tenure.
Today, history was made. Thrilled to attend the swearing in of Fabiana Pierre-Louis to the New Jersey Supreme Court – the first Black woman to be seated on the state’s highest court. pic.twitter.com/yavier71Wj
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) September 1, 2020
State lawmakers said she was chosen because of her impressive resume, sharp mind, and ability to offer a fresh perspective to the bench during a time when the nation is grappling with racial and social injustices. The addition of Pierre-Louis leaves the New Jersey Supreme Court with the same political makeup – three Democrats, three Republicans, and one independent. She will be replacing Justice Walter “Wally” Timpone, who stepped down just months before the mandatory retirement age of 70. Due to her young age, Pierre-Louis has the ability to be a key player in shaping the court for the next three decades.
Congratulations Supreme Court Justice Fabiana Pierre-Louis!!
Photo Courtesy of Chris Pedota/The Record/Associated Press