Highest position yet for a South Asian-origin American in the justice system.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan is now the United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, by an amazing vote of 97-0 in the Senate, which to some extent reaffirms that bipartisanship exists on Capitol Hill.
Srinivasan, considered by many to be the Obama administration’s top choice for the Supreme Court when the next vacancy becomes available, accomplished the rare feat of unanimous confirmation in a time of increasing bipartisanship in Washington.
Although it seems like Democrats and Republicans can never see eye-to-eye on many issues, Srinivasan has clearly been able to bypass partisan politics and appeal to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Born in Chandigarh and raised in Kansas by Indian-American parents, Srinivasan attended Stanford University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1989 and a prestigious J.D./M.B.A. from Stanford Law and Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1995. He went on to become a partner at O’Melveny and Myers in Washington, DC. In 2010, he represented disgraced Enron executive Jeffrey K. Skillings in an “honest services” appeal case, which went all the way to the Supreme Court; the Court eventually ruled in favor of Skilling.
In 2011, Srinivasan was appointed by President Barack Obama to replace Neal Katyal as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States. And in June of last year, he was appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, the confirmation of which finally took place today.
It remains to be seen if and when Srinivasan could become the first Indian-American ever appointed to the Supreme Court, the highest house of justice in the country. But many on Capitol Hill seem to believe it’s only a matter of time.
Democrat Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), in a statement, rejoiced Srinivasan’s appointment.
“Sri Srinivasan made history today. As the first South Asian on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Sri will offer a unique perspective and added diversity that is long overdue in our justice system. Mr. Srinivasan has a distinguished and proven record of commitment to public service, and I look forward to his contributions to the bench,” said Gabbard, who is also known as the first legislator in the House to be a Hindu.
The South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), an immigrants advocacy group based here, also applauded the unanimous confirmation of Srinivasan.
“Sri Srinivasan has the ideal set of experiences and skills for this important position,” said Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together, in a statement. “Srinivasan will be the first South Asian American federal appellate court judge in the history of the United States, as well as the first Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA & NHPI) judge to serve on the D.C. Circuit.”
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