Biden nominates Zahid Quraishi to become first Muslim federal judge

Zahid Quraishi Pic: New Jersey State Bar Association

President Biden has nominated Zahid Quraishi as a judge in the United States District Court of New Jersey. 

If approved by the Senate, Quraishi would be the first Muslim judge in a federal court in America.

Quraishi was born in New York City and was raised in New Jersey by parents who were immigrants from Pakistan.

He graduated from Rutgers Law School and previously represented the United States as an Assistant Chief Counsel and trial attorney with the Department of Homeland Security. He also served as a military prosecutor and achieved the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Joe Biden nominated 11 people to federal courts, one of whom was Quraishi. He said: “This trailblazing slate of nominees draws from the very best and brightest minds of the American legal profession. Each is deeply qualified and prepared to deliver justice faithfully under our Constitution and impartially to the American people — and together they represent the broad diversity of background, experience and perspective that makes our nation strong.”

Phil Murphy, the governor of New Jersey, congratulated Quraishi in a statement on his social media, saying: “[Joe Biden] is proving his commitment to ensuring that our bench is more diverse.”

Bob Menendez and Frank Pallone, both members of the New Jersey Congress, echoed similar sentiments.

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The American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee also supported the nomination. “The American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee congratulates Judge Zahid Quraishi on his historic appointment,” said chairman Ijaz Ahmad.

Although Quraishi has the potential to become the first federal judge who is Muslim, he is not the first to be nominated. In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Abid Qureshi to be a judge in the federal court of Washington D.C. However, his nomination expired and he did not ultimately become a judge.

In last November’s presidential election, 69% of American Muslims favoured Joe Biden according to a poll by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Only 17% opted for President Donald Trump.

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