Senate confirms Zahid Quraishi as first Muslim federal judge in US history

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Senate lawmakers confirmed Zahid Quraishi’s appointment to U.S. District Court in New Jersey on Thursday, establishing the Army veteran as the first Muslim American to serve as a federal judge.

The Senate approved Quraishi’s nomination by an 81-16 vote. A tally included “yay” votes from 34 Republican senators.

“Zahid Quraishi is a man of integrity, a consummate public servant, and a trailblazer for Asian Americans and Muslim Americans across this country who dream of one day presiding over a court of their own,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. “We should all draw inspiration from his story, because it is a story that could only take place in the United States of America.”

Quraishi, who is of Pakistani descent, has served as a Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey since 2019. He is the first Asian-American to be a federal judge in New Jersey. He is also an adjunct professor at Rutgers University.

Prior to his appointment as a federal judge, Quraishi was a partner at law firm Riker Danzig. He served as a military prosecutor and deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2006. 

Quraishi is President Biden’s third judicial nominee to be approved for a federal post. In May, Sens. Chuck Grassley, Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton were among the GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted to advance his nomination for a full vote.

Biden pledged to improve diversity in federal courts during his administration. Quraishi was one of Biden’s first 11 judicial nominees.

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