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Amul Roger Thapar

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Name  Amul Thapar

Education  Boston College
Amul Roger Thapar lawvanderbilteduimagespeopleimagephpimage

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Amul Roger Thapar (born April 29, 1969) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He became the second Indian-American judge of United States courts of appeals after Sri Srinivasan. He was a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.


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Early life and education

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Thapar was born in Troy, Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston College in 1991 and a Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley School of Law in 1994.

Private practice

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Thapar was a law clerk to S. Arthur Spiegel of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio from 1994 to 1996, and law clerk to Nathaniel R. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 1996 to 1997. He was an adjunct professor in the University of Cincinnati College of Law from 1995 to 1997 and from 2002 to 2006.

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Thapar was an attorney in the law firm of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. from 1997 to 1999. He was a trial advocacy instructor in the Georgetown University Law Center from 1999 to 2000. He was an Assistant United States Attorney of the U.S. Attorney's Office, Washington, DC from 1999 to 2000. He was general counsel to from 2000 to 2001. He returned to private practice at the Squire, Sanders & Dempsey firm in Cincinnati, Ohio from 2001 to 2002.

United States Attorney

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Thapar returned to the U.S. Attorney's Office as an assistant in the Southern District of Ohio from 2002 to 2006, and was the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky from 2006 to 2007.

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While an Assistant U.S. Attorney, he was appointed to the Attorney General's Advisory Committee (AGAC) and chaired the AGAC's Controlled Substances and Asset Forfeiture subcommittee. He also served on its Terrorism and National Security subcommittee, Violent Crime subcommittee, and Child Exploitation working group.

Thapar also led the Southern Ohio Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which successfully prosecuted approximately 40 perpetrators of mortgage fraud. He led the successful investigation and prosecution of a conspiracy ring to provide illegal aliens with fraudulent driver's licenses.

Federal judicial service

On May 24, 2007, Thapar was nominated by President George W. Bush for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky seat vacated by Joseph Martin Hood. The American Bar Association rated Thapar Unanimously Well Qualified, with one committee member abstaining. Thapar was confirmed by the Senate on December 13, 2007 and received his commission on January 4, 2008. His service was terminated on May 25, 2017 upon his elevation as a Circuit Judge to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

As a district court judge, Thapar heard cases in Covington, Kentucky outside of Cincinnati, as well as in London and Pikeville. While on the bench, Thapar has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School, University of Virginia School of Law, and Northern Kentucky University. He has been an invited guest at Federalist Society programs. Thapar is America's first federal district judge of South Asian descent.

Notable cases as a district court judge

In 2013, Thapar was assigned to a case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee due to the impending retirement of Judge Thomas Phillips from the Knoxville court. The case involved a high-profile break-in by peace protesters at the Y-12 National Security Complex's Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility in July 2012. The three protesters, aged 57 to 82, were convicted.

On May 10, 2013, Thapar cited the definition of the federal crime of terrorism to keep the protesters in jail until their sentencing on February 18, 2014. Thapar sentenced one of the defendants, 84-year-old nun Megan Rice, to 35 months in prison for breaking into the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and using blood to deface a bunker holding bomb-grade uranium, a demonstration that exposed serious security flaws; Rice had asked not to receive leniency and said she would be honored to receive a life sentence. The two other defendants were sentenced to more than five years in prison, in part because they had much longer criminal histories. The activists' attorneys asked the judge to sentence them to time they had already served, about nine months, because of their record of goodwill. Thapar said he was concerned they showed no remorse and he wanted the punishment to be a deterrent for other activists.

On appeal, the Sixth Circuit reversed the most serious convictions against the protesters and, in May 2015, ordered their immediate release from custody, noting that the protesters' sentencing guidelines now recommended substantially less time in custody than they had already served.

Appellate court nomination and confirmation

On March 21, 2017, Trump nominated Thapar to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to the seat vacated by Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr., who retired on August 16, 2013. On April 24, 2017, Thapar received a unanimous well qualified rating from the American Bar Association. On April 26, 2017 the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on his nomination. On May 18, 2017, his nomination was reported to the floor of the Senate by a party line vote of 11 to 8 with one Democrat not voting. He was confirmed by the full Senate with a vote of 52-44 on May 25, 2017. He received his commission on May 25, 2017.

Consideration for Supreme Court

On September 23, 2016, Thapar was included in a second list of individuals Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump "would consider as potential replacements for Justice Scalia at the United States Supreme Court."

According to a statement attributed to Trump and released via his campaign website:

We have a very clear choice in this election. The freedoms we cherish and the constitutional values and principles our country was founded on are in jeopardy. The responsibility is greater than ever to protect and uphold these freedoms and I will appoint justices, who like Justice Scalia, will protect our liberty with the highest regard for the Constitution. This list is definitive and I will choose only from it in picking future Justices of the United States Supreme Court. I would like to thank the Federalist Society, The Heritage Foundation and the many other individuals who helped in composing this list of twenty-one highly respected people who are the kind of scholars that we need to preserve the very core of our country, and make it greater than ever before.


Amul Thapar Wikipedia