Ajmel Quereshi

Ajmel Quereshi serves as Senior Counsel at LDF. In that role, Ajmel maintains a diverse caseload spearheading LDF’s work in the areas of education and economic justice, among others.  In 2019, Ajmel led LDF’s efforts in Bradford v. Maryland State Board of Education, a case on behalf of a class of school children in Baltimore who have been denied a constitutionally adequate education. In 2018, Ajmel served as lead counsel for LDF in multiple suits challenging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s suspension of housing regulations that would have made housing more accessible and affordable. In Open Communities Alliance v. Carson, LDF obtained a preliminary injunction, enjoining the Trump Administration from suspending the regulation. That same year, Ajmel led LDF’s work in Morningside v. Sabree, regarding discriminatory tax foreclosures in Wayne County, Michigan. The resulting settlement saved hundreds of homes in Detroit from foreclosure. In 2016, Ajmel launched LDF’s work on behalf of airline passengers who have been subject to racial and religious profiling. The project resulted in the issuance of new federal agency documents guiding airline staff as to the proper procedures for the questioning of individuals aboard planes. In 2015, Ajmel spearheaded the filing of a federal complaint regarding the cancellation of the Baltimore Red Line. The filing was covered by and Ajmel was quoted in The Guardian, among others. The Washington Post described the complaint as raising the “next civil rights issue of our time.”

While at LDF, Ajmel has also assisted in filing a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s termination of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians on account of the President’s derogatory statements regarding Haiti, settled a class action against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority regarding its racially discriminatory background check policy, filed suit against the U.S. Department of Education regarding its failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, coordinated a national coalition of organizations working to reduce the over-criminalization of African-American children in schools, and composed a report – Locked Out of the Classroom – regarding the role of implicit bias in the over-disciplining of African-American children. In addition, he represents an individual sentenced to death in Arkansas as well as African-American parents in four school desegregation cases in Alabama.

Beyond his work at LDF, Ajmel serves as Director of the Civil Rights Clinic at Howard University School of Law, where he also has taught courses in Torts, Federal Civil Rights, and Appellate Litigation. Under his direction, the Clinic has filed amicus briefs in several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as in Fletcher v. Lamone, in which the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland upheld the nation’s first statewide law to prohibit prison-based gerrymandering. Last fall, the Clinic filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. His teaching has been recognized by Harvard Law School, which in 2016, awarded him a Wasserstein Fellowship. The fellowship recognizes exemplary lawyers who have distinguished themselves in public interest work and who can assist students who are considering similar career paths.

Before joining LDF, Ajmel worked as Staff Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, where he litigated complex class action claims involving the United States’ most inhumane correctional facilities. He served as one of the lead counsel in Dockery v. Epps, challenging conditions at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, and assisted in the representation of the Plaintiff class in Parsons v. Ryan, a statewide class action concerning the lack of health care and conditions of confinement in Arizona’s prisons.

Before joining NPP, Ajmel received a Skadden Fellowship and directed the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the ACLU of Maryland. In that capacity, he argued before Maryland’s highest court and regularly testified before the Maryland legislature. He currently serves on the ACLU of Maryland’s Board of Directors.

Ajmel frequently speaks with the media, having been interviewed by the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and National Public Radio, among many others. In addition, he regularly presents on racial justice issues to large audiences. In 2016, he debated the future U.S. Solicitor General regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in Bank of America v. Miami, concerning whether cities had standing under the Fair Housing Act. Likewise, he has represented LDF at multiple Supreme Court reviews, debating various Supreme Court advocates from the public and private bar.

Ajmel’s editorial writings have appeared in the Baltimore Sun and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; he has published articles in several legal journals on topics ranging from international environmental law to the compatibility of Islam and democracy; and his cases have been featured by the New York Times and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, among others. He has spoken at law schools around the country, including Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Connecticut, the University of Maryland, American University, and George Mason University. In 2010, the Maryland Daily Record named him one of the top legal professionals in Maryland under 40 and the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s DC Chapter recognized him for his work in legislative advocacy. 

Ajmel is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. After graduating, Ajmel clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Honorable James G. Carr of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

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