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A son of Pakistani immigrants has just been confirmed as the first Muslim American federal judge in US history.
Zahid Quraishi was confirmed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey by an 81-16 Senate vote on Thursday.
“Another barrier was broken, and it was broken in New Jersey,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.
Quraishi’s father, Nisar, emigrated from Pakistan to New York in 1970. The elder Quraishi opened a medical office and continued to see patients until his death from complications from coronavirus in April 2020.
Quraishi, a graduate of Rutgers Law School, toured Iraq twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2006. In 2019, he was appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey, the first American of Asian origin to serve. on the Federal Bench in New Jersey.
He is part of Biden’s diverse list of nominees
In March, Quraishi was among the first judicial appointments announced by President Biden. It was a diverse roster that included three African-American women selected for vacant Circuit Court positions; the first female AAPI to serve on the United States District Court for the District of DC; and the first woman of color to ever serve as a federal judge for the District of Maryland.
Quraishi is the third on the list to be approved by the Senate.
Prior to Quraishi’s confirmation, Senator Cory Booker, DN.J., said voting it would be a reflection of America’s ideal of religious freedom.
“It was such a sacrosanct ideal of principle that our founders enshrined it in the Constitution,” Booker said.
“Here we are generations and generations later and it will be a real breakthrough moment from a person who has shown their patriotism.”