|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey|
|Assumed office |
June 14, 2011
|Appointed by||Barack Obama|
|Preceded by||Katharine Sweeney Hayden|
|Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey|
2006 – June 14, 2011
|Born||December 29, 1968|
Monterey Park, California
|Education||Rutgers University (B.A.)|
Rutgers School of Law–Newark (J.D.)
Esther Salas (born December 29, 1968) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey sitting in Newark, New Jersey. She had previously served as a United States Magistrate Judge of the same court since 2006. Salas is the first Hispanic woman to serve as a United States Magistrate Judge in the District of New Jersey, and also the first to serve as a United States District Judge in the District of New Jersey.
Esther Salas is from Monterey Park, California, and is the daughter of Cuban and Mexican immigrants. Her father is Jewish and her mother is Catholic. At the age of five, she, her mother, Aurelia Salas, along with her siblings, moved to Union City, New Jersey, where they lived on 27th Street, and later, 15th Street and Bergenline Avenue. Though she lost contact with her father when she moved from the West Coast, she would later reconnect with him during the course of the background check she underwent upon being appointed a federal judge. Growing up indigent, Salas recalls having to translate for her mother at the Welfare office, and later helping friends with various problems facing their lives, an activity that led to her pursuit of a career focusing on human services. Salas attended Emerson High School, where her extracurricular activities included cheerleading. After graduating high school in 1987, she attended Rutgers University, where she dormed on campus, and was active in clubs and activities. Salas graduated from Rutgers in 1991 with her Bachelor of Arts, and in 1994 from Rutgers University School of Law in Newark with a Juris Doctor. She credits her success during her education and during her later professional life to the Minority Student Program.
Following law school graduation, Salas served as a law clerk to Eugene J. Codey Jr., of the Superior Court of New Jersey. From 1995 to 1997, Salas worked for Garces & Grabler, P.C., where she practiced criminal matters in superior and municipal courts. Between 1997 and 2006, she served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of New Jersey, representing indigent defendants in federal matters. Salas served as president of both the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and the Hispanic Bar Foundation of New Jersey. She has also been a member of the Governor's Hispanic Advisory Committee for Policy Development, the Supreme Court Committee on Minority Concerns, and the Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts.
In 2006, Salas was selected from a group of 99 applicants as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey, becoming the first Latina in that position, in which she served for five years. On August 31, 2010, Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, announced they would recommend to President Barack Obama that Salas be nominated to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey as a U.S. District Court judge. Obama nominated her on December 1, 2010, to a seat vacated by the retiring Katharine Sweeney Hayden. On June 14, 2011, the Senate confirmed Salas, making her the first Latina on the District Court of New Jersey.
In 2013 Judge Salas presided over a notable public corruption case.
Judge Salas was the Judge responsible for the trial of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice. They were both sentenced for bank fraud on October 2, 2014.
- Sanabria, Santo. "Local roots". The Union City Reporter. July 24, 2011. pages 1 and 12
- "SPOTLIGHT ON: Hon. Esther Salas ’94 – First Latina on New Jersey District Court". Rutgers School of Law. accessed July 28, 2011.
- Symons, Michael (December 2, 2010). "Cecchi, Salas nominated as federal judges in New Jersey". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
- "Salas, Esther – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
- Ryan, Joe. "Menendez, Lautenberg support magistrates from Newark to become federal judges". NJ.com. August 31, 2010
- "U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas ’94 Is Honoree at Minority Student Program Banquet & Tribute to Alumni Judges". Rutgers University. March 13, 2012
- "Hon. Esther Salas '94 – First Latina on New Jersey District Court". Rutgers University. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
- Hack, Charles (March 21, 2013). "Hoboken mayor's former technology administrator tells judge he hacked her e-mails, shared them". NJ.com.
- Maag, Christopher (October 5, 2014). "'Real Housewives' Judge Esther Salas shaped by her personal reality". NorthJersey.com
- Esther Salas at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- Esther Salas at Ballotpedia
Katharine Sweeney Hayden
| Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey