The Senate voted 81-16 Thursday to confirm Zahid Quraishi as a U.S. district judge for the District of New Jersey, making him the first Muslim American federal judge in the country’s 244-year history.
Quraishi will be “the first Muslim American to serve as an Article III judge in our history,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor before the vote.
Quraishi, the son of Pakistani immigrants, was born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, where he earned his law degree from Rutgers Law School. He joined a law firm in 2001 but enlisted in the military after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Those events of that day inspired Judge Quraishi to consider a career in public service. He applied to the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where he was commissioned as an officer and attained the rank of captain,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said before the vote, noting that Quraishi served two tours in Iraq and was awarded the Bronze Star and a Combat Action Badge.