Young dynamic blacks continue to break stereotypes in the American society to the pride of the black race. The latest, Fabiana Pierre-Louis, has been sworn in as the newest member of the New Jersey Supreme Court, making her the first Black female justice in the state’s 224-year-history and the youngest to ever occupy that position.
Pierre-Louis, the 39-year-old daughter of Haitian immigrants not only broke the stereotypical boundaries but also excelled in her chosen career which she described as ‘a dream come true.’
According to her, “Many years ago, my parents came to the United States from Haiti with not much more than the clothes on their backs and the American dream in their hearts.” “I think they have achieved that dream beyond measure because my life is certainly not representative of the traditional trajectory of someone who would one day be nominated to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.”
Pierre-Louis is a first-generation American who grew up in a family of seven in a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn before relocating to Irvington. She now lives in Mount Laurel. Her mother worked for several years at the Manhattan hospital and her father drove a taxi in New York.
“The thought of actually sitting in the court one day was not something that came across my mind as a law clerk,” Pierre-Louis told Eyewitness New. “I think my end game as a law student was to become an attorney and hopefully make an impact in the legal profession, in some way.”
English was her second language and she was assisted by the New Jersey’s Educational Opportunity Fund, which helps students from “educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds” with financial aid for college. She earned her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and then went on to Rutgers Law School in Camden where she graduated with high honors.
She had the pleasure of working with the last Black member of the Supreme Court Justice, John Wallace Jr., as a law clerk.
Mother of two, Pierre-Louis was the first Black woman to run the United States Attorney’s Office in both Trenton and Camden where she worked for nine years as a prosecutor for the District of New Jersey. She then returned to private practice at Cherry Hill firm Montgomery McCracken, focusing on white-collar crime, complex commercial litigation and government investigation.
Governor Phil Murphy nominated Pierre-Louis to the State Supreme Court in June. Her nomination was sent to the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee. The confirmation by the state Senate sealed the deal for her as their decision was unanimous.
“I’m incredibly proud that the Senate has unanimously confirmed Fabiana Pierre-Louis as the next Associate Justice to serve on New Jersey’s Supreme Court,” Murphy said. “She is an exceptionally talented attorney and will now have the historic distinction of becoming the first Black woman to be seated in our state’s highest court.
“I am honored to have put her name forward, and see someone with a different set of life experiences and perspectives in our Supreme Court, a judicial body where New Jerseyans from all walks of life turn for justice.” This appointment is not permanent because Pierre-Louis must serve seven years before state’s lawmakers make her seat permanent. Her age is an advantage as she will have three decades to help shape the courts in New Jersey.
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