White House pushing Srinivasan nomination

Confirmation may be vital to administration’s political strategy.

By Crystal Tsoi

WASHINGTON, DC: Amidst what some claim as Senate Republicans’ attempt to prolong the confirmation process of the multiple nominees to the federal courts, the Obama administration has taken a more active role in pushing for the confirmation of Principal Deputy Solicitor General Sri Srinivasan to the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia.

The Srinivasan nomination follows Obama’s failed attempt to appoint New York City prosecutor Caitlin Halligan to one of the court’s vacancies after the threat of a Republican filibuster. Blaming Senate Republicans, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee stated that the seemingly sluggish confirmation process “is bad for our federal courts and for the American people who depend on them for justice.”

The four vacancies left open on this court stands as a gaping hole in the Obama administration’s efforts to fill the second most influential court in the country.

Filling the vacancies is particularly crucial for the President’s second term agenda as gridlock in Congress continues to curtail the President’s policy goals. Should gridlock in Congress continue, the administration may look toward the courts to further their agenda, making the a confirmation of Srinivasan vital to political strategy.

Despite polarizing debates over a seemingly politicized nomination process for the judicial nominee, the Principal Deputy Solicitor General has gotten bi-partisan support outside of the White House. This past Monday, Srinivasan received support for his nomination through a letter addressed to Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa.

The 12 individuals who signed the letter has served as Solicitor General or Principal Deputy Solicitor General and hail from both sides of the political aisle. The letter expounds the credentials of Srinivasan, who has argued 24 cases before the United States Supreme Court.

In urging for “his timely consideration by [the Senate Judiciary] Committee and his swift confirmation in the US Senate” the letter praises Srinivasan’s “unimpeachable character” and “strong work ethic,” citing his work in the Solicitor General’s office under both Democratic and Republican Administrations.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney noted on Monday: “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.”

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