Indian American as top judge: Obama seeks swift confirmation

Washington, April 2 (IANS) The White House has urged the Senate to swiftly confirm Chandigarh-born Indian-American legal luminary Srikanth ‘Sri’ Srinivasan to what is “often called the nation’s second-highest court”, the US court of appeals for the American capital.

Srinivasan, 45, became the first South Asian to be ever nominated to the circuit court by President Barack Obama last June, but the Senate Judiciary Committee announced his confirmation hearing for next week only Monday.


“The DC Circuit, as you know, is often considered the nation’s second-highest court, but it has twice as many vacancies as any other court of appeals, and its workload has increased by over 20 percent since 2005,” Obama’s press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

“Sri’s confirmation will be an important first step to filling this court’s four vacancies, and he will be, when confirmed, the first South Asian circuit court judge in history,” he said urging the Senate to move swiftly to also confirm the 15 additional judicial nominees waiting for votes.

The third South Asian named to any federal judgeship, Srinivasan was named principal deputy solicitor general of the US in August 2011, succeeding another Indian American, Neal Kumar Katyal.

“You may not know that Sri was born in India and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, eventually becoming an all-star point guard at Lawrence High School,” Carney said.

“Sri is of course also a highly respected appellate advocate who has spent a distinguished career litigating before the US Supreme Court and the US Court of Appeals, both in private practice and on behalf of the United States for both Democratic and Republican administrations,” he said.

“He has argued before the Supreme Court 24 times; drafted briefs and several dozen additional cases; and has also served as lead counsel in numerous cases before the federal and state appellate courts.

“As a testament to how highly regarded he is by members of both parties, 12 former officials from the Solicitor General’s office — six of them Democrats, six of them Republicans — all announced their support for Sri today,” Carney said.

“Sri has a first-rate intellect, an open-minded approach to the law, a strong work ethic, and an unimpeachable character. Sri is one of the best appellate lawyers in the country,” they wrote, according to Carney.

The signatories of the letter include Paul Clement, Ted Olson, Ken Starr, and Walter Dellinger.

Srinivasan received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering US National Security in 2003 and the Office of the Secretary of Defence Award for Excellence in 2005.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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