- If confirmed, she would be the first Bangladeshi American, the first Muslim American woman, and the second Muslim American to serve as a federal judge.
President Joe Biden has nominated Nusrat Jahan Choudhury as a judge to the United States Court of the Eastern District of New York. If confirmed, she would be the first Bangladeshi American, the first Muslim American woman, and the second Muslim American person to serve as a federal judge.
Last June, Pakistani American Zahid Quraishi became the first Muslim American federal judge in U.S. history, after being confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
The latest round of eight nominations announced today, Jan. 19, brings Biden’s total judicial nominees to 83 and continues his administration’s efforts to put more women and judges of color on the federal bench.
Choudhury, currently the Roger Pascal legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, emerged as the top choice among Muslim American advocates last summer for one of New York’s federal court vacancies. She had the backing of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as well as that of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
At ACLU Illinois, Choudhury oversees a team advancing civil rights and civil liberties across the state. With more than a decade of experience in advancing reform in the criminal legal system and policing, she has “led litigation to protect immigrants from dangerous detention conditions,” according to her ACLU profile.
Additionally, she serves as counsel for community organizations enforcing a federal consent decree to reform Chicago police patterns of excessive force. Her team advances 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.
The Bangladeshi American who has served as legal director of the ACLU of Illinois since 2020, has held numerous positions with the nonprofit in New York, last serving as the deputy director of the Racial Justice Program. She also served as a senior staff attorney as well as state attorney for the Racial Justice Program; and staff attorney for the National Security Project. She was a Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow with the Racial Justice Program from 2008 to 2009.
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 is a recipient of 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.
She received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2006, her M.P.A. from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs in 2006, and her B.A., summa cum laude, from Columbia University in 1998.