July 2018 \ News \ APPOINTMENTS

US President Donald Trump has appointed an Indian- American official, Raj Shah...

By Arul Louis
  • Mr Raj Shah

US President Donald Trump has appointed an Indian- American official, Raj Shah, to a key role in the contentious process of the appointment of the next justice of the Supreme Court, the White House announced in July.

Shah will take leave from the position of Trump’s Deputy Principal Press Secretary to concentrate on getting the President’s nominee through the Senate approval process, White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders said. “Raj Shah will oversee communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies,” Sanders said in her statement.

Getting a successor to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his resignation last week, approved by the Senate before the current session ends this year is a crucial task for Trump. One of the candidates in a short list of 25 potential nominees announced by Trump during his campaign included Judge Amul Thapar, who is now a federal judge in Kentucky. He has the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican.

“I think he’s absolutely brilliant, with the right temperament,” McConnell. The future orientation of the Supreme Court depends on who will succeed Kennedy, a conservative. The court is split with five judges nominated by Republican presidents and four by Democrats, ruling on many cases along ideological lines.

Trump already got one of his nominees, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, appointed to the Supreme Court during his first year in office. A controversial issue overwhelming the debate on the appointment of Kennedy’s successor is abortion, which was legalised by a Supreme Court decision in 1973 and may come up again before the court.

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