Biden nominates Muslim woman to the federal bench, a first in US history as he diversifies the judiciary
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden nominated a Muslim woman for a federal judgeship for the first time in U.S. history Wednesday as part of his administration's push to reshape the federal judiciary with diversity.
Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, is Biden's nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. If confirmed by the Senate, Choudhury would become the first Muslim woman to serve as a federal judge and the first Bangladeshi American.
The latest round of eight nominations – the 13th since Biden took office one year ago – brings Biden's total judicial nominees to 83 and continues his administration's efforts to put more women and judges of color on the federal bench.
Choudhury, who previously worked at the American Civil Liberties Union in New York, would be just the second Muslim American federal judge after the Senate confirmed Zahid Quraishi – another Biden nominee – to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in June.
Sixty-two of Biden's federal judiciary nominees have been women, including seven of the eight new nominees. The new group includes two Black women, a Taiwanese immigrant, an Asian American, a Latina and one nominee who identifies as Asian American, Latino and white. Three nominees are civil rights lawyers, two are labor lawyers and two are public defenders.
More: Biden judicial nominees represent diverse professional backgrounds, identities
Choudhury emerged as the top choice among Muslim American advocates last summer for one of New York's federal court vacancies; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer backed her as an expert in civil rights and liberties.
Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights organization, wrote in a July letter to Schumer and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that Choudhury has a "stellar reputation" for advancing the rights of minority communities and that her nomination would make much-needed history.
More: Biden poised to double the number of Black women appeals court judges
Biden is also nominating Arianna Freeman, a federal public defender in Philadelphia, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Pennsylvania. Freeman is the eighth Black woman Biden has nominated as a federal appellate judge, matching the total number of Black women who have ever served as federal appellate judges. Freeman would become the first African American woman to ever serve on the Third Circuit if confirmed.
In his first year in office, Biden won Senate confirmations of 41 of his federal judge nominees, the most of any president during their first 12 months since John F. Kennedy.
Twenty-four of Biden's judicial nominees have been Black (29%), 17 have been Hispanic (20%) and 16 have been Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (19%).
Other new nominees are:
Tiffany Cartwright, a partner at the civil rights law firm MacDonald Hoague & Bayless, for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Ana Isabel de Alba, a California Superior Court judge in Fresno County for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
Robert Steven Huie, an attorney at the law firm Jones Day, for the the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Natasha Merle, deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Jennifer Rearden, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Nina Nin-Yuen Wang, a U.S. magistrate judge for the District of Colorado, for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden to nominate first Muslim woman as a federal judge