Arizona’s first Muslim judge takes the bench

Posted at 8:53 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 20:07:04-04

PHOENIX — The first judge in the history of Arizona to be Muslim was sworn in Monday at the Downtown Justice Center in Phoenix.

Laila Ikram was sworn in as a judge pro tempore by Judge Enrique Medina Ochoa, the justice of the peace for the Downtown Justice Court Precinct. Medina Ochoa sponsored Ikram for this position.

Along with being the first Muslim, Ikram was the first judge in the state’s history to wear a hijab on the bench and she was the first to swear the oath of office on a Quran.

Being a judge pro tempora – or “pro tem” for short – is kind of like being a substitute teacher. These judges fill in on matters when full-time judges cannot. Being a pro-tem judge can be a starting point to making a leap to being appointed as a judge on a permanent basis.

Ikram, a North Carolina native who attended the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, will be filling in for judges in the county’s Justice Courts, which are some of the most high-volume courts in the state. Claims that go into Justice Court have to be under $10,000, which Ikram said means there are a lot of different types of cases and most people are representing themselves instead of having attorneys.

Read more of this story from the Business Journal.