Rachel Wainer Apter, the director of the state’s Division of Civil Rights, has been nominated by the governor to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court to fill the seat of Associate Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, who will retire at the end of the current court term on Aug. 31.
The appointment will first be sent to the New Jersey State Bar Association’s judicial and prosecutorial appointments committee. With the committee’s approval, the governor will then proceed with a formal nomination, subject to advice and consent in the New Jersey Senate.
Wainer Apter, who clerked for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received her law degree from Harvard Law School. A native of Rockaway, she lives in Englewood.
“In the wake of Justice Ginsburg’s passing, the advances in civil rights that she spent a lifetime fighting for are under threat in Washington,” Murphy said. “State courts have never mattered more, and I am honored to nominate Rachel Wainer Apter, who clerked for Justice Ginsburg and followed in her footsteps as a civil rights lawyer, to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Over the past few years, Rachel has defended New Jersey’s DREAMers in federal court, drove Facebook to confront hate speech on its platform, and proposed reforms to prevent sexual harassment. I know she will continue to serve all New Jerseyans on our state’s highest court.”
Prior to leading the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the state agency charged with protecting the civil rights of residents and enforcing anti-discrimination laws, Wainer Apter served as counsel to the Attorney General, advising him on civil rights and immigration matters. She previously worked at the American Civil Liberties Union on cases concerning voting rights, reproductive freedom, and the right to be free from discrimination.
She also worked in the Supreme Court and Appellate practice at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, where she served as the lead attorney on dozens of cases in the United States Supreme Court and federal and state courts of appeal.
“Rachel is an intellectual powerhouse and one of the country’s most thoughtful and passionate civil rights litigators,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said. “During her tenure as Director of the Division on Civil Rights, she transformed the organization into a national leader and innovator. Rachel will no doubt serve in the finest traditions of our state’s high court, where she will continue to use her many talents to ensure equal justice under law.”