The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Zahid N. Quraishi to the District Court of New Jersey, making him the first Muslim to sit on federal district court.
Thursday’s 83-to-16 Senate vote was bipartisan, with 34 Republicans crossing party lines to join all Democrats present in voting to confirm Quraishi.
Quraishi is currently a magistrate judge for the District of New Jersey. A graduate of Rutgers Law School, he has worked as an assistant U.S. attorney and white-collar criminal defense lawyer and also served as a military prosecutor and captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Quraishi “is a man of integrity, a consummate public servant, and a trailblazer for Asian Americans and Muslim Americans across this country who dream of one day presiding over a court of their own,” one of his home state senators, Sen. Robert Menendez (D), said in a floor speech Thursday afternoon.
The son of Pakistani immigrants, Quraishi became the first Asian American to serve on the federal bench in New Jersey when he was appointed to his current role in 2019.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Quraishi’s work in the private sector was cut short by “a strange, tragic twist of fate. His first day of work was September 11, 2001. The events of that day inspired Judge Quraishi to work in public service. He was a commissioned officer and was twice deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2006. For his service, he was awarded the combat star and combat action badge.”