In a historic first, Biden nominates Muslim woman for federal judgeship

Nusrat Jahan Choudhury. Photo:

President Joe Biden on Jan. 19, 2022, sent the judicial nomination of Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, of New York, to the U.S. Senate. If cleared by the Senate, Choudhury would become the first Muslim woman on the federal bench.

Biden recently nominated Choudhury to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

She would fill the vacancy created by Judge Joseph Frank Bianco.

A graduate of Columbia University, Princeton University, and Yale Law School, Choudhury has served as the Roger Pascal Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

She has more than a decade of experience in advancing reform in the criminal legal system and policing, leading litigation to protect immigrants from dangerous detention conditions, says her profile on the website of ACLU-Illinois.

She also serves as counsel for community organizations enforcing a federal consent decree to reform Chicago police patterns of excessive force,

The team she heads at ACLU, works to secure First Amendment rights, government transparency, change in the criminal legal system and policing, voting rights, access to reproductive health care, gender equity, and the rights of LGBTQIA+ people, children in the foster system, young people in juvenile detention, and people in prisons and jails.

Prior to joining the ACLU of Illinois, Choudhury served as Deputy Director of the national ACLU Racial Justice Program, a staff attorney in the ACLU National Security Project, and a Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow.

At the ACLU Choudhury has been leading efforts to challenge racial profiling and unlawful stop-and-frisk, the targeting of people of color for surveillance without evidence of wrongdoing, and practices that disproportionately punish people for being poor.

She is credited with bringing about change in several states with regard to practices that disproportionately punish people for poverty without prior court hearings, consideration of ability to pay, or legal representation. These efforts changed practices in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington, and South Carolina, and helped secure national guidance from the American Bar Association and other entities to promote fairness and equal treatment of rich and poor in courts, the ACLU noted.

Choudhury helped secure the first federal court ruling striking down the U.S. government’s No Fly List procedures for violating due process. She filed litigation to challenge the NYPD’s alleged unjustified and discriminatory profiling of Muslims for surveillance, which resulted in a court-ordered settlement agreement, and to secure public records about the FBI’s racial and ethnic mapping program.

After graduating, Choudhury clerked for Judge Barrington D. Parker in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and for Judge Denise Cote in the Southern District of New York.

She received the South Asian Bar Association of New York Access to Justice Award and the Edward Bullard Distinguished Alumnus Award of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here