2 for 1: Nomination of Fasciale for N.J. Supreme Court also will push through selection of Wainer Apter

As expected, Gov. Phil Murphy formally nominated Judge Douglas Fasciale to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The nomination, which was announced earlier this month, actually enables two potential justices to begin the confirmation process — as the nomination of Fasciale, a Republican, was brokered in a deal to push through the nomination of Rachel Wainer Apter, who was nominated by Murphy 18 months ago.

The deal continues the state tradition of having balance on the court.

The nomination will first be sent to the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee, and then a formal nomination will be sent to the state Senate. Both Fasciale and Wainer Apter could be confirmed as early as Oct. 18.

The court currently has three openings, though Fasciale has been serving as a temporary judge since Sept. 1.

Fasciale, who has served for nearly 18 years as a Superior Court judge, has an impressive resume. He was first assigned to the Special Civil Part of the Superior Court, Union County. Thereafter, he served in the Family, Civil, and Criminal parts of the Superior Court, including terms as presiding judge of both the Civil and Criminal parts.

He was elevated to the Appellate Division by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in 2010, and has served as a presiding judge of the Appellate Division since 2019. During his time in the Appellate Division, he has written 52 published opinions. He also had a lengthy career as a trial lawyer.

Fasciale, a graduate of Seton Hall School of Law, is not expected to run into opposition.

Murphy sung his praises Wednesday afternoon.

“His distinguished service as a judge spans nearly every part of the New Jersey judiciary, preparing him well to serve on our state’s highest court,” Murphy said.

Murphy who was frustrated by the delay to act on his nomination of Wainer Apter, spoke well of the process Wednesday.

“This nomination will send a strong message to leaders across our nation, signifying that the importance of judicial independence and impartiality must transcend partisan politics,” he said.

Senate President Nick Scutari (D-Clark), who was the longest serving chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in state history, also gave his endorsement.

“Douglas Fasciale is a highly respected appellate court judge with extensive courtroom experience as a jurist and attorney,” he said. “He has a distinguished record as a presiding judge of both the criminal and civil divisions of the county court, as a Superior Court judge for 18 years and as a practicing attorney. He knows the law, he values the role of the judiciary and he makes sound judgments. I am confident that he will excel as a member of the Supreme Court.”

Fasciale said he was honored by the nomination.

“As someone who spent 17 years as a litigator and trial attorney in New Jersey courts, and then 18 years as a judge at different levels in our judiciary, I have devoted my entire career to the legal system of our state,” he said.

“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to continue this service on our state’s highest court. I thank Gov. Murphy for this incredible honor, and I look forward to consideration from the Senate.”