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 on Monday.
Spokesman Raj Shah will take leave from his role in the press office to work full time on “communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies.” And Justin Clark, the director of the Office of Public Liaison, will oversee White House coordination with outside groups.
Shah will now 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. Trump has said he is focusing on up to seven potential candidates, including two women, to fill the vacancy of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote on the nine-member court. He also has said he will announce his nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy July 9.
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.
With Trump saying he’ll pick from a list of 25 potential nominees he’s compiled with guidance from conservatives, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said any of them would be “virtually certain” to favor overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that affirmed women’s right to abortion. They would also be “very likely” to back weakening President Barack Obama’s 2010 law that expanded health care coverage to millions of Americans, he said.