Nusrat Chowdhury, a civil rights lawyer, has been confirmed by the Senate as the first Muslim female federal judge in US history. She will assume her lifetime appointment in Brooklyn federal court in New York after a 50-49 vote on Thursday along party lines. The confirmation drew praise from the American Civil Liberties Union, where she is the legal director of the ACLU of Illinois. Prior to that post, she served from 2008 to 2020 at the national ACLU office, including seven years as deputy director of the ACLU Racial Justice Programme.
She has served on the Presidential Task Force on Building Public Trust in the American Justice System. Her appointment was consistent with President Joe Biden’s pledge to emphasise diversity in background, race and gender in his judicial nominations. Two years ago, the Senate confirmed the nation’s first federal Muslim judge, Zahid Quraishi, to serve as a district court judge in New Jersey. Quraishi’s first day on the job at a New York law firm was September 11, 2001. He would go on to join the Army’s legal arm and served two deployments in Iraq.
Primary Function of federal judges
- The primary role of federal judges in the United States is to adjudicate cases presented in the federal courts. These courts typically have limited jurisdiction, meaning they can only hear cases authorized by the United States Constitution or federal statutes. However, federal district courts have broader jurisdiction, allowing them to handle a wide range of civil and criminal cases.
- District court judges possess inherent authority to manage the cases before them, which includes setting trial and hearing dates, as well as imposing sanctions or holding parties in contempt for improper conduct. In certain situations, their actions are guided by federal law, the federal rules of procedure, or specific “local” rules established by the respective court system.