The first Black woman to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court was sworn into office this week.
Fabiana Pierre-Louis, 39, was accompanied by her husband and sons while she took her historical oath at a private ceremony Tuesday, according to ABC 7 New York.
New Supreme Court Justice Fabiana Pierre-Louis was sworn in this afternoon by Justice Jaynee LaVecchia in a private ceremony. pic.twitter.com/uzngaJHwOF
— New Jersey Courts (@njcourts) September 1, 2020
Pierre-Louis, who was confirmed by the state Senate, was first nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy in June ahead of Justice Walter Timpone reaching the mandated retirement age. Timpone, who will be turning 70, officially stepped down from his post on Monday, per New Jersey.com.
Murphy said Pierre-Louis was favored among state lawmakers because of her impeccable resume and intelligence. The governor also highlighted how her voice could be vital in uplifting local communities.
"Fabiana is an exceptionally talented attorney, and will now have the historic distinction of becoming the first Black woman to be seated on our state's highest court,” Murphy said. “I am honored to have put her name forward, and to see someone with a different set of life experiences and perspectives on our Supreme Court, a judicial body where New Jerseyans from all walks of life turn for justice.”
On Tuesday, he wrote on Twitter that Pierre-Louis’ appointment was history in the making.
“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,” Murphy wrote.
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
The 39-year-old former prosecutor grew up as a first-generation Haitian-American in a seven-member family and lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. Her father worked as an NYC taxi driver and her mother was employed for many years at a local hospital, NJ.com reports.
Though English was her second language, Pierre-Louis graduated with honors from Rutgers Law School. She then worked as a law clerk under New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John Wallace Jr., the latest Black justice to serve on the court.
For nine years Pierre-Louis served as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. During her term, she became the first woman of color to run both its Trenton and Camden offices.
Pierre-Louis, who celebrates her 40th birthday later this month, is only the third Black justice in New Jersey’s history and the youngest justice to serve by almost 20 years.