Senate Confirms First-Ever Muslim American Federal Judge

The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Zahid Quraishi to a lifetime seat on a U.S. district court, making him the first Muslim American federal judge in U.S. history.

Senators voted 81-16 to confirm Quraishi, 46, to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. He is President Joe Biden’s third confirmed judicial nominee, and received the strongest bipartisan vote yet.

To put Quraishi’s confirmation in context: There are currently close to 900 federal judgeships. In the 230-year history of the U.S. courts, more than 4,200 people have served as Article III judges ― that is, lifetime judges on district courts, appeals courts and the Supreme Court. Not one has been Muslim American, until now.

Senate Democrats wasted no time celebrating the historic nature of Quraishi’s confirmation.

“BREAKING: The Senate just confirmed Zahid Quraishi to serve on the District Court for the District of NJ,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted minutes after the vote. “He’s the first Muslim American federal judge in US history.”

“HISTORY MADE,” tweeted Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

Quraishi has been a magistrate judge for the same court since 2019, a position to which he was appointed.

He was previously a partner at Riker Danzig, where he chaired the firm’s white collar criminal defense and investigations group and served as his firm’s first chief diversity officer. Prior to that, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.

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