Obama nominates first Muslim federal judge

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US President Barack Obama has made the first nomination of a Muslim American to federal judicary.
Abid Riaz Qureshi – who was nominated to U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia – is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins where he oversees the BigLaw firm’s pro bono practice and specializes in cases involving the False Claims Act, health care fraud, and securities violations.

“I am pleased to nominate Mr. Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court bench,” said Obama in a statement.

“I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”

Muslim advocates welcomed the nomination, though observers note it may be more a symbolic gesture granted it is unlikely to be confirmed by Senate Republicans.

Farhana Khera, executive director of legal advocacy organisation Muslim Advocates, said that it is vital for everyone to be included in America’s judiciary.

“I commend President Obama for taking this important step in continuing to pick the best and brightest from every community to serve as part of our nation’s judiciary,” said Khera.

“A judiciary that reflects the rich diversity of our nation helps ensure the fair and just administration of the law, and it is vital for American Muslims to be included. Mr. Qureshi’s profound commitment to the rule of law and justice for people of all backgrounds makes him an exceptional nominee,” he added.
Qureshi completed his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1997. He is a partner in Latham & Watkins’ Litigation & Trial Department in the Washington, D.C. office and formerly served as Co-chair for the firm’s Washington, D.C. office Litigation & Trial Department.

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