Washington, D.C. | www.mpac.org | June 16, 2023 — On Thursday, June 15th, another milestone in American history was reached: Nusrat Jahan Choudhury was confirmed by the Senate as the first Muslim woman to serve as a United States federal judge. Choudhury is not only the first Muslim woman but also the first person of Bangladeshi descent to receive this honor. MPAC welcomes and stands with Ms. Choudhury and her position as a life-tenured federal judge during this emphatically proud moment for the American Muslim community.
Choudhury was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York back in January and was narrowly confirmed in a 50-49 vote. We thank Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for his support and recommendation as Choudhury’s nomination was advanced through the Senate.
Choudhury is a seasoned civil rights attorney hailing from Illinois with almost two decades of legal experience. She’s earned a BA at Columbia University, an MPA at Princeton University, and a JD at Yale University. She is currently the legal director at the ACLU of Illinois where she worked to get both unconstitutional ‘No-Fly Lists’ and unconstitutional surveillance of American Muslim communities in post-9/11 America struck down in Court.
Her legal and lived experiences render her uniquely qualified for this position, as she has shown resolve in the face of structural problems facing marginalized communities. This is especially relevant for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which sees high-profile cases on a consistent basis. It is important to have someone who evidently cares deeply for human dignity, equity, and safety in such an important government position.
We are extremely hopeful that Ms. Choudhury’s confirmation will satisfy and exceed the needs of the diverse communities she serves, and that her work will demonstrate to future American Muslim leaders that no career is out of reach because of our faith. Muslims in America have historically struggled to feel seen, heard, and understood in the country that many of us were born in. Our disparate underrepresentation in our government has implicitly convinced many of us that public service positions are out of our reach. This confirmation actively shatters those misperceptions and is visceral proof that we, undoubtedly, belong. Ms. Choudhury’s inclusion into the federal bench will be marked into the social memory of American Muslims as a pivotal moment in our history and a highly commendable addition to the federal bench.