The first Muslim woman federal judge in U.S. history is Nusrat Chowdhury, a prominent civil rights attorney. Chowdhury was confirmed 50-49 by the Senate to serve on the Brooklyn federal court for the remainder of her life.
As the legal director of the ACLU of Illinois, Chowdhury has received accolades from the ACLU for her confirmation. It is widely recognized that Chowdhury is a trailblazer in the field of civil rights advocacy, having held the position of deputy director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program at the national office.
In recommending her nomination, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed pride in Chowdhury’s accomplishment. Her dedication to upholding justice and equality is highlighted as the first Bangladeshi American and Muslim American woman to hold a federal judge position.
She was not supported by all senators, however. Chowdhury’s confirmation was blocked by West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, who cited her stance on criminal justice reform as a reason for his vote against her confirmation. Her past statements raised concerns about her ability to remain impartial toward law enforcement.
During her legal career, Chowdhury has worked as a clerk for United States Magistrate Denise L. Cote and 2nd Appellate Court Judge Barrington Parker. As well as serving on the Presidential Task Force on Building Public Trust in the American Justice System, she also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As a result of Chowdhury’s appointment, President Biden has committed to promoting diversity in judicial nominations. Two years ago, Zahid Quraishi was confirmed as the country’s first federal Muslim judge, demonstrating the administration’s commitment to diversity.
In Chowdhury’s case, the American Dream has been realized, as an immigrant daughter who graduated from prestigious institutions such as Columbia, Princeton, and Yale Law School. In the legal community, she has earned a reputation for her unwavering commitment to ensuring equal access to justice for all.
A more inclusive, representative judiciary is another milestone in American history, made possible by Chowdhury’s confirmation.