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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

First Muslim woman and Bangladeshi American federal judge

Nusrat Choudhury makes history as the first Muslim woman and Bangladeshi American federal judge, championing civil liberties and justice.

In a historic move, Nusrat Jahan Choudhury has been confirmed as a life-tenured federal judge, marking her as the first Muslim woman and the first Bangladeshi American to serve in such a position. The Senate’s confirmation vote of 50-49 in favor of Ms. Choudhury for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York demonstrates the importance of diversity and representation within the judiciary. This landmark decision opens doors to further inclusivity in the legal system and is a testament to the ongoing fight for civil liberties and justice for all.

A Dedicated Advocate for Civil Liberties

Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, 46, has built a distinguished legal career as the legal director of the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Throughout her tenure, she has been a steadfast advocate for civil liberties, focusing on crucial issues such as racial profiling, government surveillance, and programs that disproportionately affect low-income Americans. Her work has had a significant impact, challenging discriminatory practices and ensuring that the rights of marginalized communities are protected.

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Challenging Racial Profiling and Surveillance

Ms. Choudhury’s efforts have been instrumental in challenging racial profiling and discriminatory surveillance practices. She played a crucial role in lawsuits against airlines for racial profiling individuals who appeared Arab and fought against the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims and Muslim Americans following the tragic events of 9/11. Her work has resulted in landmark court rulings, such as the first federal court ruling that struck down the US government’s “No Fly List” procedures for violating due process.

Legacy of Advocacy

The ACLU commended Ms. Choudhury’s accomplishments, drawing parallels to legendary ACLU advocates like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who transitioned from advocacy to the judiciary. Nusrat’s commitment to advancing and protecting civil liberties aligns with the ACLU’s mission, and her dedication to racial justice has earned her the respect and admiration of her peers.

Importance of Diversity in the Judiciary

Nusrat Jahan Choudhury’s confirmation as a federal judge is a milestone for representation and diversity within the legal system. Her appointment highlights the importance of having judges from different backgrounds who can bring unique perspectives to the bench. By ensuring that the judiciary reflects the rich tapestry of American society, we can foster greater trust and confidence in the legal system while upholding the principles of justice and fairness for all.

Thin Margin and Bipartisan Support

Despite her groundbreaking achievements, Nusrat Jahan Choudhury’s confirmation came with a slim margin, with a 50-49 vote in the Senate. Senator Manchin, a Democrat, voted against her nomination. This narrow margin underscores the need for continued advocacy and support for diverse judicial nominees to ensure a fair and inclusive judiciary.

A Legal Rock Star

Rakim Brooks, the president of the Alliance for Justice, hailed Ms. Choudhury as a legal rock star and emphasized the importance of having judges who advocate for everyday Americans, not just the wealthy and powerful. Nusrat’s dedication to racial justice and her tireless work on behalf of marginalized communities make her an inspiring role model for aspiring lawyers and activists alike.

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Nusrat Jahan Choudhury’s confirmation as the first Muslim woman and Bangladeshi American life-tenured federal judge is a groundbreaking achievement for diversity, representation, and the pursuit of justice. Her career at the ACLU, marked by her unwavering commitment to civil liberties and racial justice, has prepared her well for this esteemed position. This historic moment serves as a reminder that inclusivity in the judiciary is essential for a fair and equitable legal system. As we celebrate Nusrat Jahan Choudhury’s accomplishment, we look forward to a future where the federal bench is filled with judges who reflect the diverse fabric of our nation.