Following cloture vote, Kentucky judge faces Senate confirmation tomorrow


Judge Amul Thapar is expected to face the Senate tomorrow for confirmation to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Thapar sits on the U.S. District Court for Kentucky’s Eastern District. He was nominated by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Thapar to the 6th Circuit in March. It covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture for Thapar Monday night, according to Robert Steurer, McConnell’s communications director.

According to the Senate glossary, cloture a procedure “by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster.” A cloture vote requires 60 senators

McConnell released a statement following the cloture vote and Thapar’s advancement.

“Judge Thapar is an excellent jurist. I know he’ll make a great addition to the Sixth Circuit. And I’m proud to support his nomination. I encourage each of my colleagues to do the same as we vote to advance his nomination today,” he said.

Carl Tobias, Williams Chair in Law at the University of Richmond, said the cloture vote indicates Thapar’s likelihood of being named to the 6th Circuit.

“We have a pretty good idea from the cloture vote he’ll be confirmed,” he said.

Prior to Thapar’s nomination by the Senate Judiciary Committee, a letter cosigned by 24 different organizations, such as the American Federation of Teachers and Center for American Progress, was delivered to the committee opposing the confirmation of Thapar.

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The organizations claim Thapar has “gone beyond the Supreme Court’s directives in his antagonism towards basic rules designed to ensure we have a government that is of, by and for the people.”

They point towards the case Winter v. Wolnitzek where Thapar “struck down a prohibition on judges making political contributions.”

Tobias said the case came up at Thapar’s committee hearing and said the question of campaign finance was something many Democrats disagreed with in the ruling on that case. Tobias said Thapar’s nomination by the committee on party lines is indicative of that.

“I think they felt his decision would open up sending money to judges during elections,” Tobias said.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, in a statement last week prior to voting on Thapar’s nomination, his ruling in Winer v. Wolnitzek “held that these rules governing a host of issues from political endorsements to campaign contributions inappropriately burdened the candidates’ free speech rights.”

“The Sixth Circuit reviewed his opinion. It called the judge’s work “thoughtful and thorough” and “agreed with almost all of [his] reasoning and affirm[ed] almost all of [his] judgment,” Grassley said.

Thapar was previously considered a potential replacement for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and previously served as assistant U.S. attorney in Ohio and Washington, D.C.

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