DC Court Nominee Would Be 1st Muslim U.S. Judge

     WASHINGTON (CN) — An attorney nominated by President Barack Obama to join the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia would be the country’s first Muslim federal judge.
     Abid Riaz Qureshi, a partner at Latham & Watkins in Washington, graduated Harvard Law School in 1997 and earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University.
     “I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice,” Obama said in a statement Tuesday.     
     A group called Muslim Advocates told NPR that American Muslims have served as judges at the state level, but never as a federal judge.
     Obama’s announcement won high praise from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.
     “The nomination of Abid Qureshi to fill a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sends a message of inclusion that is welcomed by the American Muslim community and by all Americans who value diversity and mutual respect at a time when some seek division and discord,” said the council’s national executive director, Nihad Awad, in a statement. “If confirmed, Qureshi will join the hundreds of thousands of American Muslims serving their fellow citizens and the nation.”
     Qureshi, who has spent the entirety of his legal career with Latham & Watkins, serves as global chairman of the firm’s pro bono committee and specializes in the False Claims Act, health care fraud and securities violations.
     If confirmed by the Senate, Qureshi would fill the seat of Rosemary Collyer, a Republican appointee who retired months earlier.
     Senate confirmation hearings of all Obama appointees have been slow-going, and nonexistent when it comes to the U.S. Supreme Court seat still empty after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
     Republicans have vowed not to consider a nomination for Scalia’s seat until after the presidential election.

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