Updated: Mar 19, 2021
The diverse bar associations of New Jersey below, including the Asian Pacific American
Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ), the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey (ABWL-NJ), the Garden State Bar Association (GSBA), the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ), the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY), the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association (NJWLA), the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association (NJMLA) and the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ), are pleased to issue this Joint Statement supporting Governor Murphy’s nomination of Rachel Wainer Apter as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Rachel Wainer Apter excelled academically, graduating
with honors from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School and clerking for three federal judges, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ms. Wainer Apter litigated extensively in private practice at the law firm Orrick, Hetherington & Sutcliffe before following in Justice Ginsburg’s footsteps and turning her career towards the cause of civil rights.
As a lawyer for the ACLU, Ms. Wainer Apter litigated to defend the rights of same-sex
couples, voting rights, and the rights of those with disabilities. When she joined the Murphy administration as Counsel to the Attorney General, she successfully litigated to preserve DACA for New Jersey’s Dreamers when it was under attack, and helped write New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive. And as Director of the Division of Civil Rights since October 2018, she has worked to combat systemic racism, anti-Semitism, and the rising incidence of youth bias.
As bar associations representing the diverse legal community, we are heartened by Ms.
Wainer Apter’s commitment to defending the rights of all New Jersey residents, including
marginalized communities. We hope Ms. Wainer Apter will add to the Court’s storied legacy of ensuring equal justice under the law. While we fully support Ms. Wainer Apter’s nomination, the undersigned bar associations continue to advocate and promote for the further diversification of the bench for communities that have been historically disenfranchised. Over 46% of New Jersey’s population is racially or ethnically diverse, and women represent more than half of our population. Notwithstanding the clear diversity of our State, the percentage of judges that identify as diverse is a mere 18% for the New Jersey Superior Court. And, the composition of the New Jersey Supreme Court will remain at 28.6% diverse. We must do better. Our organizations are encouraged by the Governor’s ongoing efforts to close the gap between the number of diverse judges in New Jersey and the overall population of this State. We must all continue to be more proactive in eliminating decades of institutional and implicit bias in staffing the New Jersey judiciary, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Governor’s office to advance that goal.
PARTICIPATING DIVERSE BAR ASSOCIATIONS OF NEW JERSEY:
Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey
Garden State Bar Association
New Jersey Women Lawyers Association
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of Greater New York
New Jersey Muslim Lawyers
South Asian Bar Association
Korean American Bar Lawyers Association of Greater New York