Nusrat Jahan Choudhury confirmed as first Muslim woman federal judge

June 20, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Nusrat Jahan Choudhury made history on Thursday when she was confirmed by the Senate, becoming the first Muslim woman and the first Bangladeshi American to be sworn in as a federal judge. Choudhury’s confirmation came after a hotly contested 50-49 vote that saw the West Virginia senator, Joe Manchin, break from Democratic ranks to vote against her.

Nominated to the federal bench by President Joe Biden, Choudhury will now preside over cases in the Eastern District of New York, right here in Brooklyn.

Her career path to this position was paved with tireless efforts in the service of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she most recently served as the legal director of the Illinois chapter.

Choudhury has made a name for herself in the legal community, notably by challenging racial discrimination at multiple levels. From taking on the federal government over the FBI’s “no-fly-list,” to combating alleged discriminatory practices within the New York Police Department, her tenacity in the face of injustice has been widely recognized.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Nevertheless, her past stances did not resonate well with every senator. Republicans, along with Sen. Manchin, expressed concern that Choudhury’s previous statements on police violence against Black Americans could suggest a bias.

Despite the criticism, Choudhury’s confirmation has been applauded by Muslim-American advocacy groups. Justin Sadowsky, a trial lawyer for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, lauded her achievement and the representation it brings. He stated, “Choudhury has a long history of commitment to the civil rights not only of Muslims but of all Americans.”

This landmark confirmation arrives on the heels of the 2021 confirmation of Zahid Quraishi, the first Muslim ever confirmed to the federal bench, also appointed by President Biden.

Choudhury’s appointment underpins President Biden’s commitment to bringing diverse representation to the nation’s judiciary, reflecting the multicultural fabric of the United States. It marks a significant milestone for Muslim representation in the U.S. legal system, which has often faced allegations of discriminatory practices against the Muslim community.

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