Harmeet Dhillon, a top California state Republican operative is a front-runner for the position of chief of the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department. Harmeet Dhillon, 48, a senior Republican leader from California, interviewed with attorney general Jeff Sessions last week, The Wall Street Journal reported on March 9th.

Harmeet Dhillon, a successful trial lawyer in California, the first woman and Indian-American to represent her state in the national Republican Party, if selected for the post would replace Vanita Gupta, another Indian-American who held the post in the second term of the Obama administration. Dhillon could not comment on the matter when contacted.

Dhillon received national recognition when she covered her head with her shawl and said a Sikh prayer at the Republican Party Convention last year where President Donald Trump was anointed as the candidate for the White House.

If nominated by US President Donald Trump, San Francisco-based Dhillon would replace another Indian-American Vanita Gupta to the position in the Department of Justice.  Gupta, who was appointed by former US President Barack Obama, put in her papers once Trump was sworn in. The name of Dhillon, an accomplished lawyer, has popped up at a time when the Indian-American community have been hit by at least three hate crimes in the last two weeks. Established in 1957, the Civil Rights Division works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the vulnerable members of society.

Heading an eponymous law firm in San Francisco founded in 2006, Dhillon has received numerous awards as a top lawyer, in cluding the Northern California Super Lawyer in business litigation by Thomson/West Publishing, an accolade reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the jurisdiction.

She previously served at the Justice Department before going into private practice, and is credited with growing GOP support in the heavily Democratic state. As an at-large Indian-American delegate from California, Dhillon delivered the invocation to start the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland July 19, 2016. Watched by not just the thousands of Republican delegates at the Convention, but the nation and the world, Dhillon is remembered for delivering a Sikh prayer in Gurmukhi.

Born in Punjab, Dhillon came to the United States as a small child with her family. She attended public schools in North Carolina, where her father started his medical practice, and she graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. She majored in Classical Studies at Dartmouth College, where she was the editor-in-chief of The Dartmouth Review. She did law at the University of Virginia Law School.

Criticism has come from conservative circles. According to Powerline, an online post from the Right, “Dhillon has certain liberal sympathies and holds certain liberal views. As discussed below, this turns out to be the case. Thus, the selection of Dhillon for a position as important as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights would be a stunning betrayal of conservatives by the Trump administration. Conservatives believed (and still do) that President Trump would eschew political correctness and identity politics, relieve local police departments of excessive federal oversight, clamp down on voting fraud, and take a hard line on illegal immigration.”

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Born and educated in India, Ajay Ghosh came to the United States to pursue his higher studies in Journalism in 1997. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the School of Journalism at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, his life as a professional journalist began in the summer of 1999 in New York City. Starting as a reporter for India Post, he worked as the New York Bureau Chief of Indian Reporter and World News from 2000 to 2005. Having a Master’s Degree in Social Work, Ajay writes on social and other issues for