New Jersey now has the nation’s first Sikh Attorney General. There was no opposition when the New Jersey Senate voted to confirm former Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal as the state’s top law enforcement officer on January 16th.
Shortly after Gov. Phil Murphy was elected as the new governor, he began nominating people to serve in his cabinet, including Grewal as New Jersey’s 61st attorney general. The state Senate unanimously voted to confirm Grewal to the post in a 29-0 vote, just hours after Murphy was sworn into the gubernatorial seat.
“I am honored and humbled to assume the role of attorney general at this critical time for our state and country,” Grewal said in a statement. “I am grateful to Gov. Murphy and the Senate for the trust they have placed in me and I look forward to continuing my service to the state of New Jersey. There’s much to do, and I can’t wait to get started,”
Judiciary committee chairman Nick Scutari says he’s confident Grewal is the right person for the job. “I’m very impressed with your qualifications and your temperament for the position and your understanding going in. I think you have as much experience and knowledge of the office as anyone that’s ever taken the oath of office to lead one of the largest departments in the state of New Jersey.”
Senator Gerald Cardinale says Grewal is an independent thinker who won’t be bullied into doing something he doesn’t agree with. “I have every confidence that you’re going to advise this governor of what he can do, what he can’t do, and maybe what he should not do.”
Grewal told lawmakers he wants to focus on several things as Attorney General. “Better coordination on the opioid epidemic across the 21 counties, improving police-community relations, and to look for opportunities for affirmative litigation to protect the interests of the state in environmental issues and consumer protection issues.”
Grewal is a former assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey, serving in the criminal division, and he served as a prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York. In addition to his work as a federal prosecutor, Grewal has also worked in private practice, including at Howrey LLP. While at Howrey LLP, he counseled clients on a range of matters including securities, trademark, antitrust and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues; represented individuals and companies in government investigations and criminal proceedings; conducted internal investigations for public corporations; and conducted civil trials.
Grewal graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science in foreign service degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1995. He obtained his law degree from the College of William & Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law in 1999.
As attorney general, Grewal, a 44-year-old Democrat, will enforce environmental and consumer protection laws, represent the state in legal disputes, and lead any of Murphy’s legal efforts to challenge policies from the Trump administration.