Systemic Racism? 80% of New Jersey judges are white and Phil Murphy says it’s unacceptable

3 mins read

TRENTON, NJ – In the state of New Jersey, 59% of the population is white, creating one of the most diverse social ecosystems in America, but 80% of the state’s judiciary is white. Now, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said he will continue battling the systemic racism inherent with the court system in New Jersey.

When asked about the lack of diversity on the bench, Murphy said it’s unacceptable.

“That’s a reality that clearly is unacceptable in the most diverse state in America,” Murphy said. “It’s not something that we just realized today. This is something that we are actively working on moving the needle on and working with our senate partners and we’ve got a very good constructive relationship there, but we need to clearly make a lot more progress, and I’m committed to that.”

In September, Murphy appointed Fabiana Pierre-Louis as the first black woman to ever serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court.

“I’m honored that the first black woman ever to serve on our state’s supreme court was put forward by our administration and that is, I hope, one step of many, many to come, and I know our brothers and sisters in the broad, diverse communities that we have,” Murphy said. “The ones that I probably have spent the most amount of time in discussing judicial appointments are our AAPI community, our African American community, our Latino communities, our South Asian communities. Those are all either currently large, growing at a fast clip, or both communities in our state, and they deserve a stake in whatever room or chamber they walk into that reflects that diversity. We have the most diverse cabinet in the history of our state and in the entire United States. That I’m very proud of, but we need to continue to make more progress and we will.”

According to data released by the state, only 81 out of 398 Superior Court judges are identified as diverse and only 36% of judges are women.

Newark State Senator Ronald Rice in an interview with the NJ Globe said it’s the byproduct of systemic racism.

“There are some unintended biases.  There is still some racism there.  It’s still an old-boys network,” Rice said to the New Jersey Globe.  “It’s reflective of the white establishment.”