(CTN NEWS) – The Senate on Thursday approved civil rights attorney Nusrat Choudhury to the position of federal judge in New York, making her the first Bangladeshi American and female Muslim to hold that distinction in American history.
By a vote of 50-49, with all Democrats voting in favour of her except one, Judge Choudhury, most recently the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, was confirmed.
On the Senate floor, New York senator and majority leader Chuck Schumer commended Judge Choudhury as “a shining example of the American dream.”
She was to be nominated for a judgeship by President Biden, per Mr. Schumer’s recommendation.
Mr. Schumer noted that there is a thriving Bangladeshi population in New York and throughout the United States. “Our courts are at their strongest when they mirror the diversity and dynamism of our democracy,” he said.
Nusrat Choudhury Lifetime Appointment
Judge Choudhury has now started a lifetime appointment to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which includes Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island.
In recent years, this court has presided over the trials of singer R. Kelly, Mexican drug lord El Chapo, and the leader of the Nxivm cult, Keith Raniere, as well as the indictment of Representative George Santos.
The nation’s first Muslim federal judge, Zahid N. Quraishi, a federal magistrate judge and the son of Pakistani immigrants, was confirmed to a seat on the bench in the District of New Jersey two years prior to her confirmation.
The Biden administration and Senate Democrats have made it a point to confirm persons of colour and those with atypical backgrounds, like public defenders, as they strive to fill the several vacancies on the federal judiciary.
The movement has gained momentum since former President Donald J. Trump appointed more than 220 conservative judges while in office. By Thursday, Mr. Biden had added 134.
In January 2020, Judge Choudhury, a former attorney who handled more than a dozen federal trials, was appointed legal director of the ACLU of Illinois.
Nusrat Choudhury’s Concerns Issues
She is in charge of a team that focuses on topics including First Amendment rights, open government, voting rights, access to reproductive health care, and the rights of kids in foster care as well as those of those incarcerated and imprisoned.
She worked at the national headquarters of the organisation for more than 11 years before joining the Illinois chapter, serving for seven of those years as the deputy director of the Racial Justice Programme.
A court-ordered settlement followed her lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims.
Judge Choudhury’s tenure with the ACLU of Illinois was “marked by her professionalism and undying commitment to advancing and protecting civil liberties,” according to a statement from Colleen Connell, the chapter’s executive director.
“Nusrat joins a proud tradition of legendary A.C.L.U. advocates, most notably Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who step away from advocacy to don a black robe and defend our Constitution,” Ms Connell said.
Sen. Joe Manchin, the lone Democrat who voted against Judge Choudhury, stated in a statement that he did not support her candidature because he did not have confidence in “her ability to be unbiased towards the work of our brave law enforcement.”
About Nusrat Choudhury
Judge Choudhury graduated from Yale Law School with a law degree after earning a master’s in public and international affairs from Princeton University and a bachelor’s from Columbia University.
She worked as a law clerk for judges Barrington Parker Jr. and Denise L. Cote in the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York.
Dale Ho’s appointment as a judge for the Southern District of New York was also confirmed by the Senate this week.
The addition of Judge Ho and Judge Choudhury to the federal bench increased the ranks of a group that has historically been underrepresented by bringing the total number of Asian Americans to 21.
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