NEWARK, NJ — Former Newark Business Administrator and Municipal Court Chief Judge Julien Neals was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. 

Neals was confirmed to the bench by a vote of 63 to 33. He previously served as the chief judge of the Newark Municipal Court from 2006 to 2008, was the city's corporation counsel from 2008 until 2010 and served as Newark's business administrator from 2010 to 2014 under then-Mayor Cory Booker. 

Following the vote, Gov. Phil Murphy commended Neals for his confirmation to the District Court. 

“With today’s confirmation of Julien Neals as the first federal judge confirmed during the Biden Administration, our nation is taking a historic step forward in elevating a highly qualified nominee to our judiciary,” Murphy said. “Throughout his career, Julien Neals has exemplified sound judgment and a commitment to the rule of law, and I know he’ll continue his record of distinguished service as a federal judge. 

Neals now becomes President Joe Biden's first successful appointment to the federal bench. In March, Biden nominated Neals among a group of 10 other nominees. 

On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Neals alongside Regina Rodriguez as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, both with bipartisan support.

"I was honored to include both of them in the very first nominations I made to the Federal Bench, and they embody the professional excellence and devotion to the rule of law and our Constitution that the American people expect of Federal judges," Biden said. "Each is deeply qualified and prepared to deliver justice faithfully under our Constitution and impartially to the American people." 

Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker also applauded Neals upon his confirmation. A day prior to Neals' confirmation, now U.S. Senator Booker delivered remarks before the  Senate floor on Neals' nomination for the federal judgeship. 

“I have had the privilege and the honor of knowing Julien Neals for close to the past two decades, and I have watched how he handles some of the most difficult challenges - from a global recession to a hurricane - he is the kind of person you want making important decisions during times of crisis,” Booker said. 

A Newark native, Neals received his Juris doctor from Emory University School of Law in 1991 and his bachelor's degree from Morehouse College in 1986. 

He was a partner at the Secaucus, New Jersey, law firm of Chasan Leyner & Lamparello from 1992 to 2006 and from 2014 to 2015. He began his legal career as a clerk for Judge Seymour Margulies on the New Jersey Superior Court.