U.S. Senate Confirms First Muslim Federal District Judge



Zahid N. Quraishi, a federal Justice of the Peace decide and the son of Pakistani immigrants, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a federal judgeship in New Jersey on Thursday, turning into the primary Muslim Federal District Court docket decide within the nation’s historical past.

Decide Quraishi acknowledged his history-making standing after President Biden introduced his intention to appoint him in March. “Candidly,” the decide stated, “I would favor to be the hundredth, if not the thousandth.” He added, “I perceive what it means to the neighborhood.”

The Senate affirmation on Thursday, by a vote of 81 to 16, touched off a wave of congratulatory messages on social media from Democrats and progressives. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey known as Decide Quraishi “a superb addition to the courtroom.” Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii stated “Congratulations Decide Quraishi!” The Senate majority chief, Chuck Schumer of New York, and Senator Gary Peters of Michigan launched congratulatory messages too.

Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey known as Mr. Quraishi “a person of integrity, a consummate public servant, and a trailblazer for Asian People and Muslim People throughout this nation who dream of someday presiding over a courtroom of their very own.” He added: “We should always all draw inspiration from his story, as a result of it’s a story that might solely happen in america of America.”

Underscoring the historic significance of the affirmation, Janai Nelson, affiliate director-counsel of NAACP Authorized Protection & Instructional Fund, Inc., stated “Now looks like a superb time to notice that the primary federal courts have been created over 230 years in the past.”

Decide Quraishi was among the many first wave of judicial nominations by Mr. Biden, who sought to counter the affect of his predecessor in steering federal courts to the best. 5 of these nominees have been individuals of shade, and two had labored as public defenders.

In 2019, Decide Quraishi was appointed a U.S. Justice of the Peace decide in New Jersey. Earlier than that he was chair of the white collar prison protection and investigations group for Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP, a big legislation agency in New Jersey. From 2008 to 2013 he was an assistant U.S. lawyer in New Jersey. Earlier than that, he was an assistant chief counsel on the U.S. Division of Homeland Safety.

Decide Quraishi, who was born in New York Metropolis and raised in Fanwood, N.J., graduated from Rutgers Regulation College in 2000. After clerking for a decide, he went to work at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP, which he later described in a podcast as a transfer to, partially, please his mother and father, who had immigrated to america from Pakistan.

“I took a job on the greatest legislation agency I might get a job at with the most important wage,” Decide Quraishi stated in January on a podcast hosted by the Muslim Bar Affiliation of New York. “I assumed that might make my mother and father proud.”

His first day at work, he stated, was Sept. 11, 2001. Two years later, Decide Quraishi joined the Military and was deployed to Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star and was discharged in 2007.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group, has criticized Decide Quraishi’s work in Iraq, and within the second time period of President Bush. In a press release, the group stated he labored as a “‘detention authorized adviser’ through the American occupation of Iraq from 2003 to 2007 when prisoner abuse was rampant, and his service with ICE through the remaining two years of the Bush administration, have sparked concern within the civil rights neighborhood.”

The group wrote a letter to senators urging them to research Decide Quraishi’s work throughout this time.

Within the podcast interview, Decide Quraishi described his path to the federal bench as a departure from what his father, a doctor, had initially meant. “You possibly can think about my father pondering I might be going to med college to comply with in his footsteps,” Decide Quraishi recalled. However, he stated, “I had no curiosity.” So he utilized to legislation college as a substitute.

“With none actual purpose in thoughts, I assumed why not go to legislation college?” he stated within the podcast. “I prefer to argue, I discuss on a regular basis.”

In April, Decide Quraishi’s 73-year-old father, Nisar, died from problems of the coronavirus, The Tribeca Trib reported. “He cherished working towards drugs,” Decide Quraishi instructed the paper. “He cherished serving to different individuals, which prompted him to be contaminated and move away.”


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