Fabiana Pierre-Louis set to become 1st Black woman on New Jersey Supreme Court

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Friday, June 12, 2020
Fabiana Pierre-Louis set to become 1st black woman on NJ Supreme Court
Fabiana Pierre-Louis is on the brink of making history in New Jersey as the first African American woman to serve on the state's Supreme Court.

TRENTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Fabiana Pierre-Louis is on the brink of making history in New Jersey as the first Black woman to serve on the state's Supreme Court.

If confirmed, the 39-year-old would also become the youngest person ever to serve as a Justice on New Jersey's highest court.

"The thought of actually sitting on the court one day was not something that came across my mind as a law clerk," Pierre-Louis said.

When she graduated from Rutgers Law School and became a law clerk for former New Jersey Supreme Court John Wallace in 2006, Pierre-Louis says she was simply focused.

"I think my end game as a law student was to become an attorney and hopefully make an impact on the legal profession, in some way," Pierre-Louis said.

Now she's not only making an impact, she's making history.

"I know how important it is for young people to see people who look like them, or come from similar neighborhoods as them, or similar backgrounds, to see those people in positions of leadership," Pierre-Louis said.

Pierre-Louis grew up in Irvington after her family moved from Brownsville, Brooklyn when she was eight.

She's the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Her father was a New York City taxi driver who saved up to buy his own medallion while her mother spent more than 20 years working at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan.

"Their work ethic is something I've always looked up to,"Pierre-Louis said. "They worked extremely hard coming to a country where they didn't speak the language, didn't know many people and really established themselves."

While this nomination comes at a time of racial strife, Gov. Phil Murphy made it clear his nomination had nothing to do with that.

He started vetting Pierre-Louis back in February.

"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 socio economic equality and equity, there is no better meeting of an individual and the times," Murphy said.

Pierre-Louis is currently in private practice, but before that she was the first Haitian American woman to become the attorney-in-charge of both the Camden and Trenton field offices for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey.

"I just feel like I'm fortunate to be in this position and hope to be an inspiration to others," Pierre-Louis said.


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