Biden nominates first-ever Bangladeshi American as federal judge


US President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Nusrat Jahan Choudhury to the federal judiciary Wednesday, January 19.

Choudhury’s nomination – if confirmed, she would be just the second Muslim judge, as well as first Bangladeshi-American to sit on a federal bench in the US.

Her nomination by the President garnered a lot of attention among the eight named Wednesday in Biden’s latest round of nominees chosen to reflect his promise of diversifying the judiciary.

Choudhury was nominated to sit on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

“These choices also continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country,” the statement read.

Choudhury, 44, has built a stellar record serving in various important positions with the storied American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, which calls itself “the world’s largest public interest law firm,” working across the entire spectrum of civil rights and civil liberties.

Choudhury is currently the legal director at the Illinois division of the American Civil Liberties Union and previously served as the deputy director of the national ACLU Racial Justice Program. She is a graduate of Yale Law School, Columbia University and Princeton University.

She emerged as the top choice among Muslim American advocates last summer for one of New York’s federal court vacancies; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer backed her as an expert in civil rights and liberties, USA Today reports.

Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights organization, wrote in a July letter to Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, the two Democratic senators of New York, that Choudhury has a “stellar reputation” for advancing the rights of minority communities and that her nomination would make much-needed history.

Her work against practices that disproportionately punish people for poverty without prior court hearings, consideration of ability to pay, or legal representation changed practices in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington, and South Carolina, and is said to have helped secure national guidance from the American Bar Association and other entities to promote fairness and equal treatment of rich and poor in courts.

Nusrat also helped secure the first federal court ruling striking down the US government’s No Fly List procedures for violating due process. She filed litigation to challenge the NYPD’s unjustified and discriminatory profiling of Muslims for surveillance, which resulted in a court-ordered settlement agreement, and to secure public records about the FBI’s racial and ethnic mapping program.

Nusrat is the daughter of Nafisa A Choudhury and the late Nurer R Choudhury, who migrated to the United States before she was born.

Her mother was a food-services coordinator for grammar schools and middle schools in Northbrook, Illinois and the surrounding areas.

The other nominees include Arianna Freeman, who would be the first African American woman to serve on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; Ana Isabel de Alba, who would be the first Latina to serve on the Eastern District of California; and Nina Nin-Yuen Wang, who would be the second Asian American to serve the United States District Court. Tiffany Cartwright, Robert Steven Huie, Natasha Merle and Jennifer Rearden round out the president’s first set of nominees for 2022 and the 13th of his presidency.