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Senate Democrats led the confirmation on Thursday of the first Muslim American judge to sit on a federal district court.
Judge Zahid Quraishi, whom President Joe Biden nominated in March for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, was confirmed in an 81-16 vote. Quraishi is the third of Biden's nominees to be confirmed after the Senate began voting on the president's candidates this week.
Quraishi, prior to becoming a judge, served two tours in the Iraq War, first in 2004 and then in 2006. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who leads the Senate Judiciary Committee, praised Quraishi in a floor speech for his military service, as well as his time as a magistrate judge in the New Jersey district.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker also praised Quraishi for his military service after 9/11 and stressed that his confirmation was a historic moment for the country.
"This is history here," he said. "America has never before had an Article III judge that also happens to be a Muslim. It's never before happened."
Quraishi's confirmation came on the heels of another New Jersey judge, Julien Neals, Biden's first nominee to pass through the full Senate. At the same time, the Senate ended debate on one of Biden's most prominent nominees, Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is widely viewed as a possible successor to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
In a floor speech on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised that Biden's nominees, all of whom are minorities, are part of a new trend in White House policy favoring diversity. Schumer also said that Democrats will seek to confirm outspoken liberals in an effort to counterbalance the Republican confirmations during the Trump administration.
"The bench will be filled with appointments that will restore the balance that many believe has been shifted way over to the hard Right during the Trump years," Schumer said.
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Original Author: Nicholas Rowan
Original Location: Senate Democrats confirm first Muslim American federal judge