Prominent Indian-American judge Amul Thapar has failed to make it to the shortlist of the three candidates from which United States President Donald Trump is likely to pick his replacement for retiring US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a media report said on Saturday.
Justice Kennedy, 81, recently announced his retirement from the US Supreme Court. 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.
Trump is likely to announce his nominees to replace Kennedy on Monday. The US President interviewed seven candidates from his master list of 25 judges, the White House said.
Thapar, 49, a Cincinnati-based federal appeals court judge, was among the first four candidates interviewed by Trump on July 2. The three others were justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge. A day later, Trump interviewed three other individuals.
According to National Public Radio, Trump has reduced the names of the potential nominees to three judges -- Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge.
The first two are the top contenders for the position, the report said.
While final nominees will be known only when Trump makes the announcement, this would be for the second time that Thapar might not be able to make the final cut after being interviewed by Trump.
Thapar was on the shortlist of candidates after judge Antonin Scalia died in 2016. Trump finally nominated judge Neil Gorsuch.
Talking to reporters travelling with him to Montana abroad Air Force One, Trump said he had interviewed some “extraordinarily talented and brilliant” people during the process.
“I’m very, very happy with them and we will pick somebody who will be outstanding, hopefully for many years to come,” he said.
The US President has chosen prime time to make the announcement. “We’re going to do it at 9 pm in the White House,” he said. This will be 6.30 am -- Tuesday -- local India time on July 10.
Asked about the details of the selection process, Trump said he had it down to four people.
“I think of the four people, I have it down to three or two. I think they’re all outstanding. Honestly, I could pick any of the 25 and they would be terrific. Those are very terrific people. The whole list is extraordinary,” he said.
“I’ll have a decision made in my mind by Sunday. We’ll announce it on Monday. I’ll give you the answer,” Trump said.
Trump had discussed the nomination with Vice President Mike Pence in Bedminster, New Jersey on Friday.
Last year, Trump appointed 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, Thapar is the nation’s first Article III judge of South Asian descent. He was confirmed by the Senate 52-44.