Washington: Indian-American judge Amul Thapar has not made it to the shortlist of three candidates from among which President Donald Trump is likely to nominate his pick for the US Supreme Court justice, a media report said today. Trump is likely to announce his nominees to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday. The US President, according to the White House, has interviewed seven candidates from his master list of 25 judges.
Thapar, 49, a Cincinnati-based federal appeals court judge, was among the first four candidates interviewed by Trump on July 2. The three others interviewed were justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge. A day later Trump interviewed three other individuals.
According to National Public Radio (NPR), 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, said NPR.
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 it to 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 has 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 a 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 has 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 on Friday discussed the nomination with Vice President Mike Pence in Bedminster, New Jersey.