President Obama has nominated more than 300 people for federal judgeships, and before this week none of them had been a Muslim. That changed with his nomination of Abid Riaz Qureshi, a Pakistan-born lawyer at the law firm Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C., to the federal court in the District of Columbia, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Obama also may have issued an unspoken challenge to Donald Trump, who has questioned whether he would be treated fairly by a Muslim judge, because of the Republican candidate’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration.
Obama has made diversity in race, gender, and sexual orientation a priority in his nominations. While the approach has been commended by many, it has also raises the question of why such diversity is necessary at all. Politico says 43 percent of Obama’s judges have been women, 29 percent have been nonwhite, and 11 have been openly gay? “On one level, diversity shouldn’t matter because judges should judge with regard to the case in front of them and not with regard to the life experience they bring to the case,” says Steven Schwinn, a professor at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. “On the other hand, I think we all recognize that judges bring their own experiences to the bench – and that we actually like that.”