Senate Confirms Pakistani-American Zahid Quraishi as a Federal Judge

Quraishi has become the first federal judge in US history of Muslim and Pakistani heritage.

By A Correspondent
Qureshi is the first Muslim federal judge in US history.
The US Senate confirmed Zahid Quraishi as the U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey on Thursday, June 10.

“Zahid Quraishi has been confirmed 81-16, making him the first Muslim-American in U.S. history to serve as an Article III federal judge and the latest of POTUS’s judicial nominees to receive bipartisan support. And we’re just getting started,” the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a tweet.

The historic vote makes Judge Quraishi, the son of immigrants from Pakistan, the first Senate-confirmed Muslim and Pakistani American to serve as a federal judge.

Quraishi was a military prosecutor and served as a Captain in the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004 and 2006. He was the first Muslim to serve as US Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey in 2019.

Quraishi was born in New York City and raised in Fanwood, New Jersey by his parents Shahida P. Quraishi and Dr. Nisar A. Quraishi. He graduated in 1993 from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, received his bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City in 1997, and his Jurist Doctor from Rutgers Law School in 2000.

Prior to his appointment, Judge Quraishi was a partner at Riker Danzig where he chaired the firm’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Investigations Group and served as his firm’s first Chief Diversity Officer. Before joining Riker Danzig, Judge Quraishi served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey from 2008 to 2013.

Judge Quraishi has been recognized in his legal field by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as one of the country’s leading white collar lawyers, Best Lawyers in America®, a peer review of U.S. lawyers, and “Super Lawyers” by Thomson Reuters.  Most recently in 2019, Zahid received APALA-NJ’s Professional Achievement Award, SABA-NJ’s Standing Ovation Award, and NJMLA’s Trailblazer of the Year Award.  Additionally, Zahid previously received Rutgers APALSA’s alumni award for leadership and service in the profession in 2017.  In 2014, shortly after entering private practice at Riker Danzig, he was named a “New Leader of the Bar” by New Jersey Law Journal.

“This is an extraordinary moment, and I’m glad this is a bipartisan moment,” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D) said before the vote. “This is history here. America has never before had an Article III judge that also happens to be Muslim. Never before happened,” Booker added. “His actions have shown his love for America.”

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