- Justice Kennedy announced retirement from the US Supreme Court last week
- Amul Thapar is among 25 shortlisted judges Donald Trump could nominate
- Indian-American Raj Shah overseeing communication linked with nomination
Donald Trump has interviewed prominent Indian-American judge Amul Thapar and three other legal luminaries shortlisted by the US President as potential nominees to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Justice Kennedy, 81, announced his retirement from the US Supreme Court last week. He met President 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 Supreme Court.
Amul Thapar, 49, is among the 25 shortlisted judges President Trump could nominate to replace Justice Kennedy.
Neither the White House nor Donald Trump himself revealed the names except for saying that he interviewed four potential Supreme Court nominees.
The four interviewed by President 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," President Trump said, describing 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," President Trump told reporters at the White House.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that President Trump was looking for individuals who have the right intellect, the right temperament and will uphold the Constitution.
Donald 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," Ms Sanders said.
If nominated and confirmed by the Senate, Amul Thapar would replace Justice Kennedy and will become the first Indian-American to be on the bench of the nine-member Supreme Court.
Last year, Donald Trump appointed Mr 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, Amul Thapar is the US' first Article III judge of South Asian descent. He was confirmed by the Senate 52-44.
Fox news said yesterday that Mr Thapar would be good for the Supreme Court and claimed that he will also be 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.
Mr 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 Amul 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.