A Pakistani-American, Zahid Quraishi, has been elected as the first Muslim judge on a federal bench in the United States. This rank is one step below the country’s top court.
He was confirmed to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey by a vote of 81-16 on Thursday.
“It’s a historic appointment as the first Muslim Article 3 judge in history. He just has this long, very enviable record of public service,” a law professor at the University of Richmond, Carl Tobias, said.
Graduated from Rutgers Law School, Qureshi served two tours in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2006.
In 2019, Zahid Quraishi was the first Asian-American to serve as a U.S. magistrate judge for the District of New Jersey.
“I just find that to be unbelievable; I think it speaks to his really amazing public service,” Tobias said.
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In March, he was among the first judicial nominees that President Biden announced. It was a diverse slate that comprised three African-American women appointed for Circuit Court vacancies; the first woman of color to ever serve as a federal judge for the District of Maryland, and the first AAPI woman to ever serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of D.C.
“He is a model for the outstanding contributions that Pakistani and Muslim Americans make to this country every day. We are grateful to President Biden for nominating him, and to members of the Senate for confirming him today,” Dr. Ijaz Ahmad, chairman of the American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee, said.
Even before confirmation of Zahid Quraishi, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. said that voting him in would be a sign of America’s ideal of religious freedom.
“It was such a sacrosanct ideal in principle that our Founders put that into the Constitution,” Booker said.
“Here we are generations and generations later and this will be a real moment of the breakthrough of a person who has shown their patriotism,” he added.