Son of immigrants from India, New York-born Shah, 40, was confirmed by the Senate by 95-0 votes to be a federal judge in the Chicago-based Northern District of Illinois, the fifth most populous state of America.
As chief of the criminal division, Shah is currently responsible for supervising the prosecutions in the district handled by about 130 assistant US attorneys.
“Manish Shah’s stellar record in working with former US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald makes him an outstanding candidate to be the next federal district court judge for Northern Illinois,” Republican Senator Mark Kirk said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
“Manish Shah has served with distinction as an assistant US attorney, and he will bring a wealth of knowledge and legal acumen to the federal bench in Northern Illinois,” said Illinois’s Democratic Senator Dick Durban.
“He has the experience, qualifications and integrity to serve with distinction on the federal bench. Shah’s nomination is also a historic one,” he said.
“Upon confirmation, he will be the first Article III judge of South Asian descent to serve in the state of Illinois,” Durbin said ahead of the vote.
According to Shah’s bio released by Kirk and Durbin’s offices, his parents emigrated from India and raised their two sons in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Shah attended Stanford University and graduated with honours and distinction. He attended the University of Chicago Law School and graduated with honours.
Shah and his wife Joanna Grisinger, who teaches at Northwestern University, currently live in Chicago.
After law school, Shah was a litigation associate at Heller Ehrman in San Francisco and clerked for James B. Zagel of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Shah joined the Chicago US Attorney’s office in September 2001 and prosecuted violent crime, international drug trafficking, complex fraud and public corruption.
He was a deputy chief of the general crimes section and the financial crimes and special prosecutions section, and he was the chief of the appellate section.