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Indian-American to be Next US Supreme Court Judge? Trump Interviews Amul Thapar

If nominated and confirmed by Senate, Thapar would replace Kennedy and will be the first Indian-American to be on the bench of the nine-member apex court.

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Updated:July 3, 2018, 10:03 AM IST
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Indian-American to be Next US Supreme Court Judge? Trump Interviews Amul Thapar
File photo of US President Donald Trump. (AP)
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Washington: Prominent Indian-American judge Amul Thapar is among the 25 judges US President Donald Trump has shortlisted as potential nominees to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. The 49-year-old judge along three other legal luminaries was recently interviewed by Trump after Kennedy, 81, announced his retirement from the US Supreme Court last week.

He met Trump at the White House soon after he told his colleagues in the Supreme Court that July 31 would be his last day at the apex court. Neither the White House nor Trump himself revealed the names except for saying that he interviewed four potential Supreme Court nominees.

The four interviewed by Trump for the Supreme Court bench are Amul Thapar, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge, The Washington Post reported.

"I'll be meeting two or three more and we'll make a decision on the United States Supreme Court, the new justice," Trump said, described the meeting as very interesting.

"That'll be made over the next few days and we'll be announcing it on Monday (July 9), and I look forward to that. I think the person that is chosen will be outstanding," Trump told reporters at the White House.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump was looking for individuals who have the right intellect, the right temperament and will uphold the Constitution. Trump has also appointed Indian-American Raj Shah to work full time on overseeing the communication efforts associated with the nomination.

"Raj Shah will oversee communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies. He will take leave from his role as Principal Deputy Press Secretary to work on the Supreme Court nomination full time," Sanders said.

If nominated and confirmed by Senate, Thapar would replace Kennedy and will be the first Indian-American to be on the bench of the nine-member apex court.

Last year, Trump appointed Thapar, who sits on the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals and a former United States Attorney, for the District of Kentucky and District Judge. The son of Indian-American immigrants, Thapar is the Nation's first Article III judge of South Asian descent. He was confirmed by the Senate 52-44.

Fox news said yesterday that Thapar would be good for the apex court and good for the Republicans. He is a "shining example of the success of the four-million strong Indian-American community" which now has the highest median household income in the country, the report said.

Thapar has the backing of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader. "I think he's absolutely brilliant, with the right temperament," he told reporters over the weekend.

According to Fox news, the political benefits of naming Thapar are clear.

"Although Asian voters made up only 4 per cent of the electorate in 2016, they are the fastest growing part of the electorate and a key factor in swing states such as Nevada (11 per cent of the electorate) and Virginia (7 per cent).

"Although they increasingly lean left, Republicans can get their votes. Nevada GOP Senator Dean Heller narrowly won re-election in 2012 by carrying 54 per cent of the Asian vote," it said.

(With inputs from PTI)
| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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