Born in New York City to Haitian immigrants and raised in Brooklyn and Irvington, Pierre-Louis graduated from Rutgers University and earned her law degree at Rutgers University Law School. After law school she clerked for associate Justice John Wallace, the last African - American to serve on the court and whose who's seat she'll fill (Timpone replaced Wallace).
She spent nine years as a prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, where she was where was the first woman of color to become attorney in charge of its Camden office. In that role, she focused on public corruption, child exploitation, narcotics and fraud, and was responsible for supervising criminal matters handled by that office.
Prior to that, Pierre-Louis was also the first woman of color to hold the same position in the U.S. Attorney's Trenton office. She also worked in the Newark office in the General Crimes Unit and the Organized Crime and Gang Unit.
Until her nomination, Pierre-Louis was a partner in the Cherry Hill firm Montgomery McCracken in its white collar and government investigations group, focusing on complex commercial litigation, white collar crime, and government investigations.
With that resume, Pierre-Louis "knows both sides of the law," said Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen. Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, predicted she'll one day serve as the court's chief justice.
At such a young age, she could prove to have a consequential role in decisions on issues such as education, housing and policing for the next three decades. She will also shift the gender makeup of the court from five men and two women to four men and three women.
Murphy said in a statement he's "incredibly proud" she was confirmed and he is "honored to have put her name forward, and to see someone with a different set of life experiences and perspectives on our Supreme Court, a judicial body where New Jerseyans from all walks of life turn for justice."
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said Thursday's vote should not be a one-off celebration for diversity on the court.
"There should never be a reason why there's one African American, one Latino, one Asian. We're a diverse state, the most diverse in the nation," he said. "This young woman is one of the most impressive people I've ever met in my life."
Contributing: Stacey Barchenger, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record