Andrew Bruck ’05 made history this summer as the first member of the LGBTQ+ community to serve as attorney general of New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy announced Bruck’s appointment in June as acting attorney general to replace Gurbir Grewal, who accepted a position with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
On his first day in office, Bruck met with 25 LGBTQ+ law enforcement officers in an off-the-record meeting to offer them his thanks. “These are the folks who have been demonstrating that LGBT+ people can serve in law enforcement, like any other profession,” Bruck says.
As a 19-year-old Princeton student, Bruck recalls, he dreamed of serving in government, but “assumed it was never going to be possible” if he acknowledged publicly that he’s gay. In July, he stood with his husband, Adam Teicholz, and their toddler, Libby, as he was sworn into office by New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ’82, for whom Bruck was a clerk in 2008 and 2009. “None of those things were plausible to me 20 years ago,” says Bruck, whose appointment extends to the end of Murphy’s term next year.
As a major in what is now the School of Public and International Affairs, Bruck selected Princeton’s current president, Christopher Eisgruber ’83, as his thesis adviser just before Eisgruber took the job of provost. Bruck regretted ignoring Eisgruber’s advice not to go straight to law school — Bruck so hated his first year at Stanford Law School that he contemplated dropping out. But a summer job at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey renewed his love of the law. Bruck spent hours listening to audio recordings from an undercover informant for the corruption case of a councilman in Monmouth County who accepted bribes.
“Prosecutors get a window into worlds of misconduct and get to do something about it,” Bruck says.
He spent five years working at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Newark and held several roles in the office of U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, including senior counsel and acting chief of staff. Since 2018, he’s worked in the New Jersey attorney general’s office, most recently as first assistant attorney general.
In that role, he helped lead an initiative to revise the state’s use of force policy for law enforcement officials, which had not been done in two decades. Bruck met with community members, read more than 1,000 comments posted online, and conferred with police unions to make sure the new policy was written with feedback from all stakeholders. All 38,000 officers in the state are being trained in the new policy, which goes into effect this year, and a public database will report on all use-of-force incidents with police. “We are holding ourselves accountable,” he says.
Bruck will serve as acting attorney general at least until the end of Murphy’s four-year term in January. His priorities include addressing gun violence, racial justice, and policing policies. “The pandemic exposed and exacerbated racial disparities that have been around for centuries, and people are open to addressing them in ways they weren’t before the pandemic,” he says. His goal is to “reorient the work of our office to help those communities.”