Friday, December 8, 2023

Nusrat Jahan Choudhury becomes first Muslim woman to be federal judge in US

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The US Senate has confirmed the former American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Nusrat Jahan Choudhury as the first Muslim woman to serve as a federal judge on Thursday.

The 46-year-old is also the first Bangladeshi American to serve in this lifetime position.

She will serve as a judge on the US court for the eastern district of New York.

She was confirmed in a 50-49 vote, with Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) the only Democrat to vote against her confirmation.

Choudhury is the second American Muslim to be nominated by the Biden administration to the position of a federal judge. Zahid Quraishi was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

“We welcome the confirmation of Nusrat Jahan Choudhury as a clear statement that American Muslims are part of the fabric of our society at all levels and that our judiciary is increasingly diverse,” said Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Earlier, Choudhury spent her legal career with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She was most recently the legal director of the ACLU of Illinois.

According to the ACLU IL’s website, “prior to joining the ACLU of Illinois, Nusrat served as Deputy Director of the national ACLU Racial Justice Program, a staff attorney in the ACLU National Security Project, and a Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow.”

She previously worked with the ACLU’s racial justice program, filing lawsuits fighting racial discrimination around the country including against the federal government — charging the FBI “no-fly-list” violated due process — and against the New York Police Department over alleged discriminatory practices.

“Representation matters. Too long, Muslim women in this country have not been adequately heard by the Courts, leading to decisions such as an employer allowing to discriminate against women wearing hijab because of the fear their customers might be Islamophobic. Choudhury has a long history of commitment to the civil rights not only of Muslims but of all Americans. We welcome Choudhury’s appointment as an important step in giving Muslim women the voice they deserve,” said CAIR Trial Attorney Justin Sadowsky.

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