President Trump Makes First Lower Court Appointment

FILE - In this May 18, 2006 file photo, Amul Thapar, now a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky talks with The Associated Press in Lexington, Ky. Donald Trump has added 10 new names to the list of judges he says he'll choose from …
AP/Ed Reinke

President Donald Trump announced his first federal appeals court nomination on Tuesday, naming Amul R. Thapar of Kentucky to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Thapar currently serves on the District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The White House released news of the appointment which noted that President George W. Bush nominated Thapar in 2008 which led to his confirmation and appointment. The son of Indian-American immigrants, he was the first Article III judge of South Asian descent in the U.S.

Prior to becoming a judge, Thapar served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Ohio and the District of Columbia according to the White House.

Thapar has worked for both Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Cincinnati during his time in private practice according to the National Law Journal. He has ruled on multiple notable cases including one in 2016 in which he ruled against restrictions on judges’ political involvement. He stated that the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission rules violated the First Amendment.

The Journal called Thapar a “well-respected in Kentucky, and known as a thoughtful, fair judge and a strong writer.” The report referenced a 2010 ruling in which he left in place Labor Department injunction against an energy company for coal mine safety violations. It also noted a 2015 ruling against a store manager who lost his sight and filed suit against Sherwin-Williams. His decision stated that vision was a key function of the job which involved driving to customers.

Judge Thapar attended Boston College where he earned a B.S. in 1991 and went on to earn his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.

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