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Senate confirms 1st Muslim American federal judge in US history


(WASHINGTON) — Zahid Quraishi was confirmed as the first Muslim American federal judge by the United States Senate on Thursday.

Quraishi, currently a magistrate judge, will serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. He was confirmed with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 81-16.

“Mr. Quraishi will be the first American Muslim in United States history to serve as an Article III federal judge,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in floor remarks on Wednesday ahead of the vote. “The third largest religion in the United States, and he will become the first to ever serve as an Article III judge.”

“We must expand not only demographic diversity, but professional diversity, and I know that President [Joe] Biden agrees with me on this, and this will be something that I will set out to do,” Schumer continued.

Before he was appointed as magistrate judge, Quraishi was formally chair of Riker Danzig’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Investigations Group and the firm’s first chief diversity officer, according to his biography on the website of Rutgers University, where he is listed as an adjunct professor. Before that, the university says he served for over five years as an assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.

In March, Biden nominated a diverse group of 11 judicial nominees, several of whom, including Quraishi, he said would make history if confirmed to the bench.

Biden’s Cabinet is the most diverse in U.S. history. Half of the president’s Cabinet is made up of women and the majority are people of color. Biden’s Cabinet has a few firsts too — including the first woman to serve as treasury secretary, the first Black defense secretary, the first openly gay man confirmed by the Senate to a Cabinet role and the first Native American Cabinet secretary.

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