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Senate confirms Zahid Quraishi as first Muslim federal judge

Zahid Quraishi is sworn in to testify before a Senate judiciary committee hearing on pending judicial nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 28. The full Senate confirmed his nomination Thursday. File Photo by Kevin Lamarque/UPI
Zahid Quraishi is sworn in to testify before a Senate judiciary committee hearing on pending judicial nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 28. The full Senate confirmed his nomination Thursday. File Photo by Kevin Lamarque/UPI | License Photo

June 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Zahid Quraishi to the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, making him the first Muslim federal judge in the United States.

The chamber voted 81-16 in favor of President Joe Biden's judicial appointment.

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Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged the confirmation in Senate floor remarks ahead of the vote.

"Mr. Quraishi will be the first American Muslim in United States history to serve as an Article III federal judge. The third largest religion in the United States, and he will become the first to ever serve as an Article III judge," Schumer said.

"We must expand not only demographic diversity, but professional diversity, and I know that President Biden agrees with me on this, and this will be something that I will set out out to do."

Quraishi became a federal magistrate in 2019 after working professionally as lawyer at Riker Danzig law firm in New Jersey, CBS News reported. He was also a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey and an assistant chief counsel at the Department of Homeland Security.

He served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps and had two deployments to Iraq.

Quraishi was among a rash of federal judicial nominees Biden made in March, shortly after taking office.

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