America mourns today as the body of the Sheila Abdus-Salaam, our nation’s first female Muslim judge to sit on the New York Court of Appeals, was just found in the Hudson river shortly after her family had reported her missing.

Sources told the New York Post that there were, in fact, no signs of trauma or foul play, though the police are still investigating her sudden death at the age of 65. Abus-Salaam served as the Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights before serving in the New York State Supreme Court.

During her time, she was noted for making one of the biggest decisions of her career which was to rewrite laws on how NYS viewed LGBTQ rights to parenthood.  She was certainly looked down upon by many critics for her decisions, which may be connected to her tragic death. Paired with her religious observance, seeing as though the recent Trump administration has allowed for rampant Islamophobic and racist sentiments to be openly cultivated.

 

US Attorney General Eric Holder left, and Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy, right, applaud after Court of Appeals judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam ,second from left, is congratulated after being sworn in by New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman during a swearing-in ceremony at the New York Court of Appeals in Albany, N.Y., Thursday, June 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman beautifully describes how he felt about his dear friend and colleague saying quote,

“I’m deeply saddened at having lost a dear friend and colleague, and the court has suffered a terrible blow. She was a superb jurist and an even more superb human being.I knew her for many, many years. To some degree, we grew up together in the court. I’ve known her in all her different roles in the court. It’s just so shocking. She was a very gentile, lovely lady and judge. If you ask anyone about her, people would say only the most wonderful things. That’s why it makes it even more difficult to understand”

Though she is gone Shelia Abdus-Salaam will be forever remembered as the first female Muslim judge in the United States. Setting a clear message and standard for women to follow.

 

Jocelyn Rivera