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Report: Biden mulls appointing first-ever Muslim federal judge

Qureshi was previously nominated for a district court seat by then-President Barack Obama in 2016.

Abid Riaz Qureshi. Photo courtesy Latham & Watkins L.L.P.

(RNS) — The Biden administration is considering naming Washington, D.C., attorney Abid Riaz Qureshi to U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to media reports. If confirmed by the Senate, Qureshi would be the first Muslim to become a federal judge.

According to BuzzFeed News, the Biden administration has ordered the FBI to vet Qureshi, who was previously nominated for a district court seat by then-President Barack Obama in 2016.

Qureshi is a partner at Latham & Watkins, a global law firm, and has built his career around health care fraud, securities violations and other cases in the public interest. According to the Latham & Watkins website, he “has particular facility with managing large multi-faceted investigations on behalf of international companies, drawing on experience investigating two of the largest healthcare fraud cases in the country.”

Qureshi has provided pro bono legal advice to a number of immigrants’ rights groups and the Muslim Alliance. He also received the Impact Award from the Capital Area Muslim Bar Association at a Ramadan event in 2018.


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President Obama nominated Qureshi to D.C.’s U.S. District Court in September of 2016 to fill a seat vacated by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, but the nomination was not acted on by the Senate with the end of that congressional session in January 2017.

Qureshi’s appointment would mark a historic step forward for Muslim representation in the American judicial system. Earlier this year, the influential Harvard Law Review appointed its first Muslim president since the journal was founded in 1887.