President Barack Obama has nominated the first Muslim in American history to become a federal judge.
Pakistani-born Abid Qureshi is a partner at law firm Latham and Watkins LLP and works as global chair of the company’s pro bono committee, one of the largest in the world.
His place on the federal judiciary is not yet guaranteed, as nominations must be approved by the Senate.
“I am pleased to nominate Mr Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court bench,” Mr Obama said.
“I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”
The nomination was welcomed by Muslim advocacy groups.
“I commend President Obama for taking this important step in continuing to pick the best and brightest from every community to serve as part of our nation’s judiciary,” said Farhana Khera, former counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy organisation.
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“A judiciary that reflects the rich diversity of our nation helps ensure the fair and just administration of the law, and it is vital for American Muslims to be included.
“Mr Qureshi’s profound commitment to the rule of law and justice for people of all backgrounds makes him an exceptional nominee.”
A Harvard Law School graduate, Mr Qureshi is a winner of the Legal Times ‘Champions of Justice’ Award 2012 and has extensive experience as lead counsel in trials at a federal and state level.
As well as sitting on the DC Bar Legal Ethics Committee and his extensive pro bono work, Mr Qureshi has also been listed as a Washington DC ‘Super Lawyer’, a catalogue of attorneys who have excelled themselves in their work.
Mr Qureshi’s areas of expertise include False Claims Act liability, violations of federal securities laws and healthcare fraud and abuse.
In addition, Mr Qureshi has experience of corporate investigations and government inquiries.