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Trump to Nominate Amul Thapar to 6th Cir.

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on March 22, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

President Trump will nominate Amul Thapar to the Sixth Circuit, the White House announced on Tuesday. Thapar currently sits on the District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

This is not the first time Trump has considered Thapar for a promotion, either. The judge was included on President Trump's short list of candidates to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court. That spot went to the Tenth Circuit's Neil Gorsuch, but a shot at the Sixth isn't a bad consolation prize.

Amul Who?

Judge Thapar was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Indian-American immigrants. He attended Boston College for undergrad and earned a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley in 1994. He clerked for the Sixth Circuit's Judge Nathaniel R. Jones from 1996 to 1997, before going on to teach at both the University of Cincinnati College of Law and Georgetown. Thapar has twice served as an Assistant United States Attorney before he was nominated to his district court position by President George W. Bush. When he was confirmed, he became the first ever Article III judge of South Asian descent.

Thapar's nomination was praised by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. In a statement, McConnell described Thapar as "my friend" and said that Thapar demonstrates "an incredible intellect and an unshakable dedication to the law."

The Nun Case

As a district court judge, Thapar's highest-profile ruling involved a Catholic nun and nuclear war. In July 2012, Sister Megan Rice, along with peace activists Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, cut through fences and snuck onto the y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee, where the Department of Energy processes nuclear material and stores weapons-grade uranium. Once inside, the activists spray painted anti-war slogans and prayed.

Thapar sentenced the 82-year-old nun to 35 months in prison and her two companions to more than 5 years each. The most serious convictions, however, ended up being overturned by the Sixth Circuit.

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