Continued From Page 8 a great job because he has the brains , the compassion and the work ethic .” She was among the crowd at the swearing-in who were loud and proud with their applause .
His appointment was especially welcomed by the Hispanic community , and most specifically by Peruvians because his family had immigrated from there . Noriega ’ s parents had earned medical degrees in South America . His mother , Tery , who beams with pride over his appointment , was an obstetrician , and his late father was a cardiologist . Upon arriving in New Jersey , they both worked for doctors in Hudson County and planned to obtain their licenses here . But Noriega said trying to study for the medical board tests in a foreign language , while working and raising three sons proved daunting for his parents . Ultimately , they became entrepreneurs and opened a travel , insurance and tax preparation business on the ground floor of a mixed-use property they bought in Union City .
Their perseverance and dedication left an indelible mark that Noriega and his wife , Melissa , now impress on their daughters , Emma , Abigail , Rebecca and Kathryn . The new justice is proud of his heritage and touched by the outpouring of well-wishers from the Hispanic community .
Growing up in Hudson County , Noriega well understands that New Jersey ’ s Hispanic community is a melting pot of many countries , including Cuba , Dominican Republic , South America and elsewhere . “ It ’ s amazing to feel a
“ As a former public defender and one of New Jersey ’ s most respected criminal defense and immigration law attorneys , Michael Noriega will bring extensive trial experience and a career path throughout our legal system to the judiciary ,”
community is behind me , suggesting that I ’ m making them proud even though it ’ s so many different communities and so many different cultures ,” he said .
Since his nomination was announced in May , Noriega was invited to several events organized by the Peruvian community and he was surprised to learn how large and prominent it is throughout the state . “ It was quite impressive and really inspiring to know that I was being honored among their ranks ,” he said .
In his own words , Noriega admits being “ big on legacy and tributes and tradition .” Twice in his career Noriega argued before the Supreme Court and Justice Barry Albin grilled him . The justice was a former criminal defense attorney and was regarded as one of the brightest minds on the court . “ Those moments stuck out as both contentious and inspiring in the sense that I felt that I had stood my ground with a heavyweight ,” Noriega recalled , adding , “ now to sort of be taking on that mantle feels particularly amazing .”
To prepare for the new court session that begins in September , Noriega is spending hours conferring with his new colleagues and pouring over caselaw . As he read over a decision that was written by a colleague with whom he had just been speaking recently , Noriega said “ it all became very surreal and very emotional in that moment .”
He is eager to do the work his father knew he was destined to accomplish . “ It ’ s wonderful and overwhelming at the same time .”
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner administers the oath of office to Noriega as his wife , Melissa , holds the Bible .
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