Washington, DC – Ahead of a US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing tomorrow, various New Jersey organizations are offering their support of President Joe Biden’s recent nominations of Judge Zahid Quraishi and Julien Xavier Neals to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, including the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ), the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ), New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association (NJMLA), Center for Court Innovation, New Jersey Urban Mayors Association, and Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ).

“The New Jersey State Bar Association commends the nominations of Julien Neals and U. S. Magistrate Judge Zahid Quraishi to serve on the U.S. District Court of the District of New Jersey,” said New Jersey State Bar Association President Kimberly A. Yonta. “Due to vacancies, the New Jersey federal bench has been operating in a state of emergency for several years and these nominees will help members of the public resolve their disputes in a timely fashion. Further, their confirmations will continue to ensure that our bench reflects the rich and diverse backgrounds of the people of this state. Judge Quarishi has also been a leader in the legal community, notably giving his time generously to educate and mentor attorneys throughout their careers. He has served our country as a magistrate judge, assistant United States Attorney, and during his deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He will certainly also be an asset to the U.S. District Court and people of our state.”

"As current President of SABA-NJ and as a long time board member, I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know long-time member and supporter, Judge Quraishi. He has been an vital asset to SABA-NJ through his mentorship of our members, his participation on panels and milestone events, and through his friendship. We commend the Biden Administration's historic appointment of a South Asian to the lifetime seat of a District Judge. At SABA-NJ, we constantly strive to advocate for our members through representation at all levels of our government, and Judge Quraishi's nomination represents a long awaited appointment of a South Asian to the Federal Bench. This is a positive step for SABA-NJ and for all New Jerseyans who will benefit directly from a more diverse federal bench. We urge the Senate to confirm Judge Quraishi in a swift and bipartisan manner and further urge the Biden Administration to continue its focus on diversifying its appointments at all levels,” said Bhaveen R. Jani, President of the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey.

“We applaud President Biden’s nomination of Judge Quraishi to serve as a federal district judge in New Jersey. Our state has the most vacancies out of all of the federal district courts and is also one of the busiest courts in our nation. Indeed, the nomination and swift confirmation of Judge Quraishi is much needed in our federal judiciary. Without a doubt, Judge Quraishi is exceptionally qualified for this role. His down to earth personality, his humility, his background as an Asian American of Pakistani/Muslim descent, and his practical no-nonsense approach to the law have served him well as a federal magistrate judge in a state as diverse as New Jersey and, I know that these qualities will continue to make him shine once he is confirmed by the Senate as an Article III judge. We are confident that the Senate will swiftly confirm Judge Quraishi and the historic impact of this moment will be felt for generations to come. Of course, this news brings much needed hope to our community as we grapple with the rise in anti-Asian hate across the country. There is still much work to be done, but at least for today, we can take a pause and celebrate the nomination to elevate Magistrate Judge Quraishi to be the first Asian-American District Judge in New Jersey and also the first Muslim-American to sit on the federal bench in our nation’s history,” said Qing Guo President-Elect of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey.

“Not only is Judge Quraishi a skilled litigator who will bring expertise to the bench, he will also bring much needed diversity of background and perspective to the federal judiciary. We are proud to support his nomination to serve on the Federal Judiciary,” said Faudia A. Hameed Clemenza, Chair of the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.

“The New Jersey State Bar Association commends the nominations of Julien Neals and U. S. Magistrate Judge Zahid Quraishi to serve on the U.S. District Court of the District of New Jersey,” said New Jersey State Bar Association President Kimberly A. Yonta. “Due to vacancies, the New Jersey federal bench has been operating in a state of emergency for several years and these nominees will help members of the public resolve their disputes in a timely fashion. Further, their confirmations will continue to ensure that our bench reflects the rich and diverse backgrounds of the people of this state. Julien Neals has been an active member of the NJSBA's Commission on Racial Equity in the Law, which is studying the legal system to identify methods to address root causes of inequities in the profession and the law, and is a frequent speaker at educational programs. He has exemplary qualifications and extraordinary accomplishments that will be an asset to the federal bench and to the citizens of New Jersey.”

"President Biden could not have picked a wiser, more deserving nominee than Julien Neals for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey,” said Courtney Bryan, Executive Director of the Center for Court Innovation. “Over more than a decade, County Counsel Neals has been an important partner to my organization, supporting the development of visionary initiatives that brought new resources and ideas to New Jersey's courts. His creativity, even-handedness and compassion have played an essential role in strengthening how municipalities and courts work and improving outcomes for everyone--victims, litigants and the community at large. Through his untiring efforts, he helped the City of Newark create numerous innovative programs, including Newark Community Solutions, New Jersey’s first community court. This project served as a model for other courts by leveraging existing community resources to expand sentencing options for judges, allowing them to offer defendants social services to address the underlying causes that might contribute to offending, and he has inspired similar innovative problem-solving in Bergen County. Throughout his career, he has made equity, fairness and compassion top priorities. And through his leadership, he has been able to change hearts and minds, welcoming new ideas that have benefited both the governments in which he has worked and the communities that he has served.”

“Julien X. Neals has been one of the most honorable, intelligent, wise, and forthright leaders and jurists our city has ever seen. We have benefited from his service as Municipal Court Chief Judge, Business Administrator, and Essex County Superior Court Judge. He has been a strong advocate for the needs of Newark and our state’s urban communities,” said Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark, President of the New Jersey Urban Mayor’s Association. “Now our entire state and region will benefit from his abilities and commitment to justice and the law as President Biden’s newest appointment to the Federal Bench for New Jersey. I congratulate Judge Neals on his appointment and wish him joy and success in this new role.”  

“Julien Neals was a Trustee on Volunteer Lawyers for Justice’s (VLJ’s) Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2014,” said Cathy Keenan, Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice. “He quickly ascended into leadership roles at VLJ and was the Board Chair from 2010 to 2013.  Mr. Neals led VLJ through a period of great expansion and was the Chair when Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey and VLJ helped to lead the statewide legal response to the storm. He was also heavily involved with the creation of VLJ’s re-entry legal program, ReLeSe, that helps people with criminal records address the civil legal barriers that serve as obstacles to their successful community reintegration. Julien Neals is a great champion of justice and when serving as a leader at VLJ he made it a priority that all people, and especially people living in poverty, have equal access to the legal system. Just one example of his work relates to criminal records which are a major barrier for people, especially Black, indigenous, and other people of color, seeking employment and housing.  With his work with ReLeSe, Mr. Neals made it a priority to ensure that a criminal record would not define a person’s entire life.”

You can also view organizations’ letters of support for Neals and Quraishi here:

The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ)

The Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey 

The New Jersey Muslim Lawyer’s Association (NJMLA)

The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA)

The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA)

Stuart W. Risch Major General, U.S. Army Deputy, Judge Advocate General

The South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ)

Center for Court Innovation

Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ)