Senate confirms Zahid Quraishi as first Muslim federal judge in US history

Former US Army captain and son of Pakistani immigrants wins bipartisan backing

Zahid Quraishi on Thursday became the first Muslim-American federal judge in US history, after winning strong bipartisan backing in the US Senate.

Mr Quraishi, 46, will serve in the District of New Jersey after his confirmation was approved 81-16.

Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey called it “an extraordinary moment".

“I'm glad this is a bipartisan moment," he said.

The Republican leadership in the Senate, including Mitch McConnell and John Thune, also voted in favour of the nomination.

In June 2019, Mr Quraishi became the first Muslim magistrate judge for the District of New Jersey, Trenton vicinage.

Mr Quraishi, the son of Pakistani immigrants, is also the first Asian American to sit on the federal bench in New Jersey.

A Rutgers Law School graduate, Mr Quraishi served as a military prosecutor and achieved the rank of captain in the US Army Judge Advocate General Corps.

He served in Iraq between 2004 and 2006.

Mr Biden campaigned on bringing diversity to the judicial bench and the White House is highlighting the speed at which it is making such nominations.

The newly confirmed judge is Mr Biden’s third judicial nominee to win Senate approval and he will serve a lifetime appointment.