Srinivasan confirmed, officially now the biggest desi legal luminary

A likely Supreme Court justice in the future.

By Deepak Chitnis

Sri Srinivasan at his confirmation. Photo: Bala Chandran.

WASHINGTON, DC: Sri Srinivasan has officially been sworn in and will begin working at his new post on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Although the ceremony took place on Thursday, Srinivasan was originally confirmed back in May, when the normally divisive US Congress threw unanimous bilateral support towards Srinivasan’s appointment. Srinivasan was personally nominated by President Barack Obama. His current post is considered by many to be the second-highest judiciary position in the country, with only the Justices of the US Supreme Court wielding more power.

Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh but raised in Kansas, where he grew up as a basketball star and a die-hard Jayhawks fan, in part because both of his parents were professors at the University of Kansas. He 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. The case was a landmark in Srinivasan’s career, as he not only argued a case in the country’s highest court, but convinced the Justices to reverse a decision in his client’s favor.

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, for which he was re-appointed this past January, confirmed in May.

Many insiders believe that Srinivasan’s new position puts him on the fast-track to be a Supreme Court justice eventually. Although a time frame on that happening is vague – Supreme Court appointments are for life or until retirement, and there’s no guarantee that Srinivasan is at the front of the line for such a nomination – if he were to become a US Supreme Court Justice, he would be the first South Asian to ever do so.

Srinivasan’s oath was carried out by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, for whom he clerked in the past. She called him “fair, faultless, and fabulous.”

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