Rachel Wainer Apter

Director, New Jersey Division on Civil Rights
Rachel Wainer Apter

Rachel Wainer Apter became the Director of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights on October 15, 2018. She previously served as Counsel to the Attorney General, advising on civil rights and immigration matters and leading the New Jersey team that defeated a preliminary injunction motion by Texas and seven other states to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, Rachel worked at the American Civil Liberties Union on cases concerning the right to be free from discrimination, reproductive freedom, voting rights, and other federal constitutional questions. She served as counsel in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which considered whether a baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple on religious grounds was exempt from Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws. She also served as counsel on a challenge to the Trump Administration’s decision to allow employers with moral or religious objections to contraception to opt out of providing coverage to women employees without ensuring that the women could still access no-cost contraception. Rachel also argued and won a disability discrimination appeal and led a task force regarding investigations of sexual harassment and sexual assault on college campuses. 

Prior to the ACLU, Rachel worked in the Supreme Court and Appellate practice at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, where she briefed and argued cases in federal and state courts. She was also a leader of the firm-wide Women’s Initiative. 

Rachel, who grew up in Rockaway, New Jersey, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received her law degree from Harvard Law School. After law school, Rachel served as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court, Judge Robert Katzmann on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Judge Jed Rakoff on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

Rachel lives in Englewood with her husband and three children.