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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Remarks At Judiciary Committee Introducing Nusrat Choudhury As Nominee To Be District Judge For The Eastern District Of New York

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today delivered remarks at the Senate Judiciary Committee introducing Nusrat Choudhury, who would be the first Muslim American woman to serve as federal judge if confirmed, as nominee for federal Judge for New York’s Eastern District. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Thank you Chairman Durbin and my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is always a pleasure to be back here, as you know, where I served for many years.

This morning I have the true honor of introducing Nusrat Choudhury, whom I urged President Biden to nominate as a federal Judge for New York’s Eastern District.

She is a history maker. She is the first Bangladeshi to be nominated for the bench. She is only the second Muslim-American to be nominated and be on the bench. And she is the first Muslim-American woman. So this is a great day for glass ceilings and for history as America grows and grows and expands and expands and becomes greater and greater.

She is just going to be great.

One of the things I would like people to know about Ms. Choudhury is that she is here with some pretty important guests: I want to recognize her husband Michael, her mother Nafisa, her two brothers Arif and Saif. Raise your hands. Hello everybody. Congratulations.

I know this is a proud, proud day for all of them.

The second thing to know about Ms. Choudhury is that her life, her family, and her career is a shining example of the American Dream.

She is the daughter of immigrant parents: her father was born in modern day Bangladesh and came to the US as the first known Bangladeshi to win a Fulbright Travel Grant. Her mother, also from Bangladesh, worked with the Illinois public school food services for more than twenty years and together they helped dozens of immigrants find a life in this great country.

When I mentioned Mr. Choudhury to Bangladeshis even in New York, they had heard his reputation about helping settle the community and deal with the community in Chicago and throughout America.

I’m sorry to steal your thunder Mr. Chairman: I know that Ms. Choudhury was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago—I know that she is presently Legal Director of the ACLU of Illinois—but she also lived in Brooklyn for 17 years, and so I’m proud to champion her as a New Yorker!

As a graduate of Columbia, Princeton, Yale Law School, Ms. Choudhury forged her legal career precisely in New York City. She worked with the ACLU for over a decade, working with the National Security Project and the Racial Justice Program. She dedicated her career to protecting the rights of the downtrodden and making sure that all people can have their voices heard in the courts of law, from the privileged to the impoverished.

Her experience is vast: she’s handled more than two dozen federal cases, 8 class actions, and has been lead counsel in 16 cases.

She’s worked both at the state and federal level; and argued cases both in district court and on appeal.

She has handled a whole host of issues ranging from civil rights, to criminal justice reform, to First Amendment issues and so much more.

She’s represented veterans and immigrants, has worked with law enforcement to improve policing practices in cities ranging from Milwaukee to Chicago to Boston.

In short, she has done it all.

And as I mentioned but it’s worth repeating, in addition to her experience, Ms. Choudhury would make history as the first Bangladeshi American and first Muslim American woman—and only the second Muslim American ever—to serve as a federal judge.

This is a great milestone. I believe that our courts are at their strongest when they mirror the richness and dynamism of our democracy. And there are many Bangladeshis coming into New York and to the United States. And when the young children see Ms. Choudhury on the bench, god willing, they will know that America welcomes them and that they can achieve great things too. So it’s a great day for the whole country.

I have been proud to work with many of you this year in advancing nominees who are not only qualified, but also shatter the mold of judicial nominees that we’ve been accustomed to for so long.

We did so less than a month ago by confirming Judge Jackson to the US Supreme Court. And I want to thank the committee for it’s great work in that regard, and you Mr. Chairman in particular.

And of the near 60 judges that this Senate Majority has confirmed, three quarters have been women and two thirds people of color.

We hope the trailblazers of today can be closer to the norm of tomorrow: we want our courts to include more women, more diverse candidates, both demographically and professionally, and more judges who come from unique backgrounds.

A rich, diverse judiciary is vital for our democracy, and for Americans’ faith in the solemn promise of “equal justice under law” that we’re all entitled to. There is not a doubt in my mind that Ms. Choudhury would help advance that cause.

Finally, before I depart, I also want to recognize Natasha Merle, who has also been nominated as a Judge for the Eastern District and has been introduced by my friend Senator Gillibrand. Ms. Merle worked with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund since 2016, has practiced at every level of the legal system, and will make a fine addition to the federal bench.

I thank my colleagues for letting me speak this morning, and I congratulate Ms. Choudhury for her groundbreaking nomination.