Washington: Manish Shah, a top Indian- American prosecutor, has been confirmed by the US Senate as a federal judge in Illinois, becoming the first South Asian federal judge in President Barack Obama’s home state.
Shah, 40, was confirmed by the Senate by 95-0 votes.
“His experience as a prosecutor and in various leadership positions at Chicago’s US Attorney’s office will ensure Shah is a knowledgeable jurist who will provide a fair forum for the resolution of civil disputes and the prosecution of alleged crimes,” Illinois Senator Mark Kirk said in a statement after the confirmation.
An Assistant US Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 2001, New York-born Shah currently serves as Chief of the Criminal Division, having previously served as Chief of Criminal Appeals from 2011 to 2012.
Shah was also Deputy Chief of the Financial Crimes & Special Prosecutions Section from 2008 to 2011 and Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section from 2007 to 2008.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Dick Durbin, another Illinois Senator, said Shah is an outstanding nominee.
“He has the experience, qualifications and integrity to serve with distinction on the federal bench. Shah’s nomination is also a historic one. Upon confirmation, he will be the first Article III judge of South Asian descent to serve in the state of Illinois. In short, Shah is an excellent nominee and I hope my colleagues will join me in voting to confirm him,” Durbin said.
Shah has won numerous awards and recognitions for his work in the US Attorney’s Office, including the FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Criminal Investigation.
He is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Chicago Law School. He clerked for two years for Judge James Zagel of the Northern District of Illinois, the 5th most populous state of America.
Shah appeared before the Judiciary Committee last November. He was reported out of the Judiciary Committee on January 16 by a unanimous voice vote.
“Shah’s confirmation as the first South Asian American federal judge in Illinois represents another significant milestone for our community. We look forward to his service on the bench and applaud the President and the US Senate for nominating and confirming him,” said Tejas Shah, President of Indian American Bar Association.
“Manish Shah’s unanimous confirmation demonstrates, yet again, what an extraordinary pool of talent we have in our community,” said Nadeem Bezar, president of South Asian Bar Association North America.