Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Governor Murphy, thank you for that heartfelt and wonderful introduction and for the extraordinary honor of nominating me to be an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. I am grateful for the confidence you have shown in me. As a sitting judge for the last eighteen years, I am fully aware of the enormous responsibility on the shoulders of our justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court, a Court with a national reputation for outstanding judicial distinction. Your trust inspires me to be the best version of who I can be. Thank you.
I also extend my thanks to the Governor's staff, particularly his Chief Counsel, who I have gotten to know during this process. Chief Counsel, like the Governor, cares deeply about our judiciary and the independent role it plays in our tripartite system of governance. It has been my honor to interact with you.
Former Chief Justice Zazzali, and members of the Governor's judicial advisory panel, thank you for your support on this nomination. I have tremendous respect and admiration for each of you. You have served with distinction; your example is exemplary.
I look forward to meeting the members of the New Jersey State Prosecutorial and Appointments Committee, to meeting with Senate President Scutari, Senate Judiciary Chairman Stack, and other members of the Senate, as the Senate undertakes its constitutional obligation to provide its advice and consent. And I am particularly gratified that Senate President Scutari is here today. Thank you.
I wish my parents were alive to witness this moment. I can only imagine their reaction to Governor Murphy's selection of me for the Supreme Court. I suspect it would be unimaginable.
My parents taught me the values of discipline, hard work, and persistence, just to name a few, and I believe my achievements flowed from the values they impressed on me. I am lucky I had them. I am their legacy, and I am the product of humble roots.
My dad was born in a small village of maybe 300 people located in the mountain range of Aspromante near Reggio Calabria, Italy. At age seven, he and his mother crossed the Atlantic Ocean and joined his father, who several years earlier had arrived at Ellis Island to start his own career as a carpenter. They searched for a better life and to live the American dream. After enlisting in the Navy during WW II and serving on the USS Texas Battleship for several years, my dad played music professionally, obtained a college and masters degree, then became an educator. The name of his big band was "The Esquires," which is ironic given that I became a lawyer. Who knows, maybe the arch of my career was predestined. And my, who lived into her 90s, worked at home then became a seamstress at a department store. My two sisters and I fulfilled their dreams.
Teresa, who I have been married to for thirty-one years and who is a practicing attorney at Riker Danzig, and I have two amazing sons, both of whom chose the legal profession as their careers. One recently graduated from Seton Hall Law School, and the other is a second-year student at Seton Hall Law School. They too embody the American dream. We are so proud of them.
I wanted to be a lawyer at a very young age. I studied pre-law history in college, not to learn historical dates, but rather to extrapolate important lessons from that history. My thirst for legal knowledge continues as I currently pursue my Masters in Judicial Studies at Duke Law School, which is a rigorous three-year prestigious advanced degree for state, federal, and international judges. It's the only such LLM Program in the nation.
As someone who spent seventeen years as a litigator and trial attorney in New Jersey courts, and then eighteen years as a judge at different levels in our judiciary, I have devoted my entire career to the legal system of our state. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to continue this service by sitting on our state’s highest court. I thank you Governor once again for this incredible honor.