Amul Thapar

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Amul Roger Thapar
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
Assumed office
January 4, 2008
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Joseph Martin Hood
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky
In office
2006–2007
Personal details
Born Amul Roger Thapar
(1969-04-29) April 29, 1969 (age 47)
Detroit, Michigan
Education Boston College B.S.
UC Berkeley School of Law J.D.

Amul Roger Thapar (born April 29, 1969) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. President Donald Trump has nominated him to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Early life, education, and private practice[edit]

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

He was an attorney in the corporate 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 Equalfooting.com from 2000 to 2001. He returned to private practice at the Squire, Sanders & Dempsey firm in Cincinnati, Ohio from 2001 to 2002.[1]

United States Attorney[edit]

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.

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. And he led the successful investigation and prosecution of a conspiracy ring to provide illegal aliens with fraudulent driver's licenses.

Federal judicial service[edit]

On May 24, 2007, Thapar was nominated by President George W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky vacated by Joseph Martin Hood. Thapar was confirmed by the Senate on December 13, 2007, and received his commission on January 4, 2008. Thapar sits in Covington, Kentucky outside of Cincinnati, as well as in London, and in 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 case[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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.[2][3] 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.[2] 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.[4] 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.[5]

Appellate court consideration[edit]

Thapar has been cited as a possible Supreme Court nominee by President Donald Trump.[6] On March 21, 2017, Trump nominated Thapar to the Sixth Circuit, to the seat vacated by Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr., who retired on August 16, 2013.[7] His nomination is now pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.[8]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Joseph Martin Hood
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
2008–present
Incumbent