AP

President Obama just nominated Abid Riaz Qureshi to serve as a judge on the Federal Judiciary Bench in Columbia’s District Court. Should Qureshi be approved, he would become the first Muslim judge to serve on a federal court in the United States.

Qureshi's nomination has to be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for approval–a significant challenge given that Senate Republicans have so far refused to confirm several of Obama's judicial picks in the past year.

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“I am pleased to nominate Mr. Qureshi to serve on the United States District Court bench,” Obama said in a statement. “I am confident he will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”

Qureshi, who is Pakistani-American, graduated from Cornell in 1993 and from Harvard Law School (also Obama's alma mater) in 1997. He's a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP, a D.C. law firm, specializing in handling health care fraud, the False Claims Act, and securities violations, according to the White House statement. He also serves on the D.C. Bar Association's Legal Ethics Committee.

Muslim-American legal advocates have welcomed the nomination, saying it marks a significant step towards ensuring wider representation within the judicial system.

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“A judiciary that reflects the rich diversity of our nation helps ensure the fair and just administration of the law, and it is vital for American Muslims to be included," Farhana Khera, former counsel to the US. Senate Judiciary Committee and executive director of legal advocacy group Muslim Advocates, told Indian Express. "Qureshi’s profound commitment to the rule of law and justice for people of all backgrounds makes him an exceptional nominee."