Michael Noriega, a former public defender who is a partner at the Scotch Plains law firm of State Sen. Jon Bramnick, is expected to be nominated today by Gov. Phil Murphy to serve as an associate justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Noriega, who would replace Barry Albin (who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 last July), would be just the third Hispanic to ever serve on the court – and the first since the retirement of Faustino Fernandez-Vina in February of 2022.
News of the selection was first reported by New Jersey Globe. Murphy has called a press conference this morning, promising a “major announcement.”
Noriega, just 45, would be considered a Democrat on the court in the state’s efforts to keep the court balanced. Noriega is considered an expert in immigration law. He previously handled litigation for the American Civil Liberties Union.
He currently serves as a partner at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan.
The court, due to mandatory retirement age, has had a massive transformation in recent years.
If confirmed, Noriega would be Murphy’s fourth selection for the Supreme Court since taking office in 2018. He previously nominated Fabiana Pierre-Louis in 2020, Rachel Wainer Apter in 2021, and Douglas Fasciale, a Republican, in 2022 – all of whom now are on the court.
Murphy is expected to get one more Supreme Court nomination when Justice Lee Solomon turns 70 in August 2024.