Obama Makes History, Nominates First Muslim American as Supreme Court Judge

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WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama made history on Tuesday by nominating for the first time a Muslim American of Pakistan origin to serve as a federal judge.

Abid Riaz Qureshi has been nominated to the US District Court in the District of Columbia, PAKPAC tweeted.

“I am pleased to nominate Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court bench,” Obama said in a statement. “I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”

Qureshi, born in Pakistan, received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1977 and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1997. He has been partner at a Latham and Watkins, a law firm based in Washington DC since 2006, leading their pro bono efforts since 2012, reported The National Law Journal. He specializes in cases involving the False Claims Act, health care fraud, and securities violations.

Qureshi is also the recipient of the “Champions of Justice” Award in 2012 by the National Law Journal’s Legal Times.

President Obama’s nomination has been hailed as a milestone by Muslim advocacy groups and the Pakistani American Political Action Committee(PAKPAC) which promotes U.S.- Pakistan relations.

“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 Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy organisation.

“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.”

The nomination comes towards the end of Obama’s term in office and in the midst of a racially-charged election campaign in the country.

The success of Qureshi’s nomination remains uncertain, however. With just months left in Obama’s term, Senate Republicans have virtually stopped confirming his judicial picks. His nomination is currently pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But the nomination does carry symbolic value for judicial diversity in a campaign in which Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has expressed insecurities regarding fair treatment by a Muslim judge.

Trump said it is “absolutely possible” that he would receive unfair treatment if a Muslim came to serve as federal judge, echoing his declaration that a federal judge of Mexican descent could not fairly oversee a fraud suit against one of his companies because of his ethnicity.

According to an estimate there are more than 1 million Pakistanis and Americans of Pakistan origin living in the U.S. and actively participate in the American political process, like all other community groups. —pkonweb.com

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