All rise: Morristown attorney Vij Pawar is now Judge Pawar

Superior Court Assignment Judge Stuart Minkowitz swears in Vij Pawar to the bench, June 25, 2021. Joining Pawar at the private ceremony is his mother, Usha Pawar; children Stella and Gabriel, and his wife, Jennifer.


Court Room Number One in the Morris County Courthouse has seen many historic trials and decisions since 1827.

More history was made there on Friday, with the swearing-in of Superior Court Judge Vijayant Pawar, believed to be the first Indian American jurist in the Morris-Sussex Vicinage.

Superior Court Judge Vij Pawar and his wife Jennifer, June 25, 2021.

Superior Court Assignment Judge Stuart Minkowitz presided over the private ceremony, witnessed by Pawar’s wife Jennifer; their children Gabriel and Stella; Pawar’s mother, Usha; and friends.

“It was very special to have my mom present. My dad passed away from cancer a few years ago and I wish he was present to witness the swearing in, so he could enjoy the consequences of the hard work and sacrifices my parents made,” said Pawar, who came to America when he was 13.

The 45-year-old jurist was Morristown’s municipal attorney for the last dozen years and a member of the Morris School District board of education since his election in 2018.

A public ceremony will be scheduled, Pawar said. New judges must attend training sessions before hearing cases.

Gov. Phil Murphy nominated Pawar last month and the state Senate confirmed him last week.

Superior Court Judge Vij Pawar and his wife Jennifer with their children, Gabriel and Stella, and Pawar’s mother, Usha, at private swearing in ceremony, June 25, 2021.

Pawar ran for Congress in 2002. Three years later, he was treasurer for an early campaign of Tim Dougherty. Pawar served as Morristown’s municipal prosecutor from 2006 to 2010, when Dougherty, newly elected as mayor, hired him as the town’s law director and municipal attorney.

It was “clearly the best choice in my political career,” the mayor said at last week’s council meeting.

The council approved Dougherty’s choice for Pawar’s successor, David Minchello, a partner in Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin’s law firm, at the meeting.

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