Obama judicial nominee could become first Muslim on federal bench

If the Senate confirms the nomination of attorney Abid Riaz Qureshi to the US District Court before the end of the congressional session, he'll become the first Muslim to hold the position.

Latham & Watkins LLP/AP
President Barack Obama has nominated Abid Riaz Qureshi for the federal bench in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

President Barack Obama has nominated a Washington, D.C., attorney for the federal bench. If confirmed, he would be the first Muslim to serve as a federal judge.

Obama nominated Abid Riaz Qureshi of Maryland for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Qureshi's bio at Latham & Watkins LLP says he specializes in cases involving fraud and securities violations. He also has managed large, complex investigations on behalf of international companies. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1997 and Cornell University in 1993.

An advocacy group called Muslim Advocates is applauding the nomination, saying that diversity helps ensure the fair administration of the law, and it is vital for Muslims to be included. The group said he had worked with the organization on a pro bono basis in two important civil rights cases.

The White House has regularly cited Obama's efforts to bring diversity to the federal judiciary, noting he has appointed 120 minority federal judges and 138 female federal judges.

However, Senate confirmation is uncertain. Congress is in an abbreviated session, and the Senate is scheduled to meet only until the first week in October.

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