President Obama Nominates First Muslim American to Federal Judiciary

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President Obama Nominates First Muslim American to Federal Judiciary

Jessica Mason Pieklo

If confirmed, Abid Qureshi would be the first ever Muslim-American person to serve as a federal judge.

Abid Qureshi made history Tuesday by becoming the first Muslim-American person nominated to the federal judiciary.

President Barack Obama nominated Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

“I am pleased to nominate Mr. Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court bench,” Obama said in a statement. “I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”

Qureshi graduated from Harvard Law School in 1997 and is a partner in the D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP, where his practice specializes in health-care fraud and securities law.

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Muslim-American groups applauded the nomination, calling it an important message of inclusion to their community. “The nomination of Abid Qureshi to fill a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sends a message of inclusion that is welcomed by the American Muslim community and by all Americans who value diversity and mutual respect at a time when some seek division and discord,” Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group, said in a statement.

While Qureshi’s nomination is historic, it is unclear whether it will actually advance in Congress. Obama only has a few months left in his term, and Senate Republicans have made it clear they do not plan on acting on any of his judicial nominees. Since 2015, Republicans have voted to confirm only 17 federal judges, despite an ongoing crisis of vacancies.

Meanwhile, Merrick Garland, who was nominated in March to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat following Scalia’s death in February, has waited 175 days and counting for the Senate to move on his nomination. Of any Supreme Court nominee in history, Garland has gone the longest without a hearing.