US President Donald Trump interviewed Indian-American judge Amul Thapar and three other legal luminaries as potential nominees to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, according to American media reports. If nominated and confirmed by Senate, Thapar will be the first Indian-American to be on the bench of the nine-member apex court.
While neither the White House nor Trump himself revealed the names of the interviewees, an anonymous source close to the administration confirmed the names of Amul Thapar, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge, reported the Associated Press. Adding that he will meet with “two or three more” candidates, President Trump said, “We’ll make a decision … over the next few days and we’ll be announcing it on Monday. I think the person that is chosen will be outstanding.”
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. He met for 45 minutes with each contender, she added.
Thapar, belonging to an Indian-Amerian immigrant family, is among the 25 shortlisted judges by the US President. He is also the Nation’s first Article III judge of South Asian descent. He also 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.
Fox News, in its report on Monday, said that Thapar would be good for the apex court as well as 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.
Highlighting the political benefits of naming Thapar, Fox News added, “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.
Justice Kennedy, 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.
(With inputs from agencies)