Scutari may stop Haitian nominee

State Supreme Court nominee Fabiana Pierre-Louis is at risk of losing confirmation for the job because Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) may deny Governor Phil Murphy’s appointee a hearing.

State Supreme Court nominee Fabiana Pierre-Louis

Pierre-Louis is a lawyer nominated on June 5, 2020, by Murphy to replace retiring Justice Walter F. Timpone in November as a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Pierre-Louis is a partner in Montgomery McCracken’s White Collar and Government Investigations practice group. She focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, white collar crime, and government investigations.

Prior to her return to that law firm, Pierre-Louis served for 9 years in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and the Attorney-in-Charge of the Camden Branch Office, the first woman of color to hold that position in the history of the District.

As Attorney-in-Charge, Pierre-Louis was responsible for supervising all aspects of criminal matters handled by the Camden Office including criminal trials, investigations and prosecutions of large-scale mail and wire fraud offenses, healthcare and government fraud matters, and narcotics, firearms, and violent crime offenses.

She also investigated and prosecuted her own individual caseload focusing on public corruption matters, federal narcotics offenses, export control violations, defense contracting fraud, national security matters, and child exploitation offenses.

Prior to serving as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Camden Office, Pierre-Louis also served as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Trenton Branch Office from November 2016 to December 2018 and was the first woman of color to hold that position as well.

In addition to working in both Trenton and Camden, Pierre-Louis worked in the Newark Office in the General Crimes Unit and the Organized Crime and Gang Unit.

Before serving as an Assistant United States Attorney, Fabiana was an associate in Montgomery McCracken’s White Collar and Government Investigations practice group.

Immediately following law school, Fabiana served as a law clerk for the Honorable John E. Wallace, Jr. of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (Ret.).

Fabiana is fluent in oral Haitian Creole.

In addition to being fixed on a political struggle between the Governor and Soutg Jersey power broker George Norcross, Pierre-Louis could be denied a confirmation vote due to animosity among factions in Linden.

Mayor Derek Armstead and the Linden City Council fired Scutari as municipal prosecutor after he missed a third of his scheduled work days over a two year period.

Armstead’s wife, Danie Orelien, is a teacher in the Linden public school district and a prominent member of the Haitian community. There’s no doubt that top New Jersey political leaders are petty enough to jeopardize a Supreme Court appointment over such parochial rivalries.

The potential embarrassment of Murphy’s failure to make a successful nomination and the impact on local politics in Linden could be enough to drive Senate President Steve Sweeney — a Norcross ally who is close to Scutari– to weather any resulting storm caused by inaction.

Murphy has not shown himself to be an adept political operative in his ongoing fight with Norcross, which has stalled his agenda in the Legislature.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, a childhood friend of Norcross, has blocked scores of Murphy appointments and held up the governor’s legislative plans.

Murphy has also alienated Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex.

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