In Brief

Governor Murphy nominates Judge Fasciale to N.J. Supreme Court

By: - September 14, 2022 6:28 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced his nomination of Judge Douglas M. Fasciale to the New Jersey Supreme Court on Sept. 14, 2022. 2022. (Photo courtesy of NJ Governor’s Office)

Gov. Phil Murphy will nominate Appellate Judge Douglas M. Fasciale to the New Jersey Supreme Court, leaving just one of the high court’s seats without a nominee after months of delays.

The Westfield resident joined the Superior Court in 2004 and ascended to the Appellate Division in 2010.

“I have devoted my entire career to the legal system of our state,” he said in a brief speech Wednesday. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to continue this service by sitting on our state’s highest court. I thank you Governor once again for this incredible honor.”

Fasciale’s appointment follows his Sept. 1 temporary elevation to the New Jersey Supreme Court and a months-long impasse over the nomination of Rachel Wainer Apter, the director of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner appointed Fasciale and two other judges, Clarkson Fisher Jr. and Jack Sabatino, to allow the court to maintain a quorum after the retirement of Judge Jose Fuentes, whose own temporary appointment allowed the court to maintain a quorum as its members stepped down, voluntarily or because they reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

During his 18 years on the Superior Court bench, Fasciale has ruled on family, civil, and criminal cases and was a presiding judge in the latter courts.

Sen. Holly Schepisi’s invocation of senatorial courtesy, an unwritten rule that allows senators to indefinitely block gubernatorial nominees from their home county or legislative district, has snarled Wainer Apter’s nomination for months.

Fasciale appears unlikely to face the same hurdles, in part because jeopardizing the Republican judge’s nomination could sink Wainer Apter’s as well.

The nomination will go to the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee before heading back to the Senate. The state bar has urged Murphy and senators to fill vacancies at the Supreme Court and lower courts.

“He knows the law, he values the role of the judiciary, and he makes sound judgments,” Senate President Nicholas Scutari said. “I am confident that he will excel as a member of the Supreme Court.”

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Nikita Biryukov
Nikita Biryukov

Nikita Biryukov most recently covered state government and politics for the New Jersey Globe. His tenure there included revelatory stories on marijuana legalization, voting reform and Rep. Jeff Van Drew's decamp to the Republican Party. Earlier, he worked as a freelancer for The Home News Tribune and The Press of Atlantic City.

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