Indian American judge among 5 selected to receive the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award

Judge Amul Thapar was nominated by President George W. Bush.

By Raif Karerat

An Indian American judge was among five legal luminaries selected to receive The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s highest honor — the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements, commitment and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys.

Judge Amul Thapar, who was recognized last week, was nominated by President George W. Bush to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2007, making him the nation’s first South Asian American Article III judge.

Prior to his confirmation, Thapar served as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. While a U.S. attorney, Thapar was appointed to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) where he chaired the AGAC’s Controlled Substances and Asset Forfeiture subcommittee.

Born in Detroit, Mich., Thapar earned his bachelor’s from Boston College in 1991 and his J.D. from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1994.

Apart from his courtroom experience, Thapar also delved into academia, serving as a professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law from 1995 to 1997 and again from 2002 to 2006.

The 2015 Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazers Awards will be presented on Nov. 6, 2015, at a special ceremony during the 2015 NAPABA Convention in New Orleans.

The other honorees include:

  • Captain Benes Z. Aldana — United States Coast Guard
  • Assemblymember Rob Bonta — California State Assembly
  • David Louie — Kobayashi Sugita & Goda LLP
  • Justice Sabrina Shizue McKenna — Supreme Court of the State of Hawai’i.


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