Abid Qureshi, the global chairman of law firm Latham & Watkins’ pro bono practice, has been nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He is the first ever Muslim to be nominated to serve the federal judiciary, according to Muslim Advocates, a civil rights legal advocacy group.
“I am pleased to nominate Mr. 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, who was born in Pakistan, has been leading the Los Angeles-based firm’s pro bono practice since 2012 and has been a partner at the firm since 2006. He received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1993 and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1997.
According to Latham’s website, Qureshi’s expertise lies in fraud cases including healthcare and abuse and federal securities law. He also has “substantial experience handling internal corporate investigations, governmental inquiries and regulatory proceedings.”
Muslim Advocates welcomed Obama’s decision to nominate Qureshi for the federal 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,” Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, said in a statement. “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.”
But, it is still unclear whether Qureshi’s nomination will be confirmed. Huffington Post noted that Obama has only a few months left in the office and Senate Republicans have stopped confirming any of the president’s picks.
However, the nomination holds importance amid the racially charged election campaign by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He has said that judges from Muslim or Mexican background would be unsuitable for the job because he believed they would be unfair toward him due to his controversial remarks. The 70-year-old real estate tycoon has also said that he would temporarily block Muslims from entering the United States.