Biden appoints first-ever Pakistani American as US Federal Judge


Judge Zahid Quraishi has been confirmed by the US Senate, becoming the country’s first Muslim American federal judge.

Quraishi, who is of Pakistani descent, was serving as a magistrate judge for the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, prior to his appointment as a federal judge on Thursday during a Senate hearing.

President Joe Biden nominated Quraishi, 46, for the position in March, per a press release from the White House, along with 10 other judicial candidates who have the potential to also make Senate history.

Ahead of Thursday’s confirmation hearing, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke on the floor about the historic vote surrounding Quraishi.

“Mr. Quraishi will be the first American Muslim in United States history to serve as an article III federal judge. The third-largest religion in the United States, and he will become the first to ever serve as an article III judge,” he said, according to United Press International.

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

Following the New Jersey judge’s confirmation, the state’s governor, Phil Murphy, released a statement about the historic moment.

“Another barrier has been broken, and it has been broken in New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy, 63. “I congratulate the newest member of the federal bench for the District of New Jersey, Judge Zahid Quraishi, on becoming the first Muslim federal judge in our nation’s history. As a Captain in the United States Army, an attorney in private practice, an Assistant United States Attorney, and a federal magistrate judge, Judge Quraishi has built a strong and commendable legal record. I know that all who enter his courtroom in search of justice will benefit from his experience, his knowledge, and his commitment to the law.”

The governor added, “I further congratulate President Biden on this historic confirmation, and I thank both Senator Menendez and Senator Booker for their role in the selection process and their work to ensure Judge Quraishi’s smooth confirmation.”

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., called on his colleagues to vote for Quraishi, saying he is “a person of patriotism who happens to be Muslim.”

“This is history,” Booker said, urging his colleagues “to achieve something that should have been achieved a long time ago.”

Quraishi, the son of Pakistani immigrants, was born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, where he earned his law degree from Rutgers Law School. He joined a law firm in 2001 but enlisted in the military after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.