Biden nominates two to fill NJ district court vacancies

Gabrielle Saulsbery//March 30, 2021//

Biden nominates two to fill NJ district court vacancies

Gabrielle Saulsbery//March 30, 2021//

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President Joe Biden named two judicial nominees to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey March 30 as part of a group of 11 nominees.

Julien Xavier Neals is county counsel and acting county administrator for Bergen County, and Judge Zahid Quraishi has been a United States Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey since 2019.

If confirmed, Neals and Quraishi will fill two of the state’s six district court vacancies, second only to California’s and declared a “judicial emergency.”

“Julien Neals and Zahid Quraishi are smart, experienced, and thoughtful attorneys who will both bring an exceptional commitment to fairness and impartiality to the federal bench,” said Senator Cory Booker on the nominations. “Mr. Neals has had a long and distinguished legal career and possesses an unwavering commitment to justice. Judge Quraishi, who would make history if confirmed as the first Muslim American federal judge, has defended and served our country with distinction in numerous roles. Their skills, experience, and unique perspectives are needed on the federal bench now more than ever. I look forward to their hearing before the Judiciary Committee and their confirmations by the full Senate.”

Prior to his current post in Bergen County, Neals served in various positions in the Newark city government between 2006 and 2014, including as the city’s business administrator from 2010 to 2014, corporation counsel from 2008 to 2010, and chief judge of the municipal court from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that, he was a partner at Chasan Leyner & Lamparello in Secaucus from 1992 to 2006 and from 2014 to 2015.

Quraishi was previously a partner at Riker Danzig where he chaired the firm’s white collar criminal defense and investigations group and served as his firm’s first chief diversity officer. Prior to entering private practice at Riker Danzig, Quraishi served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of New Jersey from 2008 to 2013; and prior to that, served as an assistant chief counsel at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He also served as a military prosecutor and achieved the rank of captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, deploying to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2006.

“President Biden has nominated two outstanding and highly qualified individuals to serve on the U.S. District Court of New Jersey in Julien Neals and Magistrate Judge Zahid Quraishi. They not only represent the best of New Jersey and our state’s values, but they reflect the state’s proud and rich diversity—critical elements for any effective judiciary sworn to uphold equal justice under the law,” said Senator Bob Menendez.

“If confirmed, both nominees will uphold the highest ideals of our justice system. I applaud President Biden for making a bold statement with these nominations and I would encourage their swift confirmation,” Menendez said.