Srinivasan garners Republican support during confirmation hearing
Washington: Described by President Barack Obama as a "trailblazer", Sri Srinivasan has bright chances to become the first ever Indian-American to serve as a US federal judge as he faced no outright opposition from Republican senators during a confirmation hearing.
During his 90-minute confirmation hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, an impressive Srinivisan appeared to have won the heart of the opposing Republican Senators, who were seen praising him.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch openly said he supports Srinivisan while another Republican Senator Ted Cruz asked soft questions and then narrated stories of their long friendship.
If confirmed by the Senate, Srinivasan, 46, would be the first South Asian judge on District of Columbia Circuit, which is often described as the second top court in the country after the US Supreme Court.
In fact, Senator Mark Warner, Co-chair of the bipartisan US-India Senate Caucus, introduced Srinivasan at his confirmation hearing and asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to favourably report the nomination.
The DC Circuit handles key appeals relating to environmental, labour and national security cases through its jurisdiction over federal rulemaking.
While announcing his nomination last year, Obama called Srinivasan a "trailblazer" who "will serve the court with distinction and excellence".
"Sri is exceptionally well qualified to carry out the duties and responsibilities of a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia," Warner said.
"He possesses the credentials, experience, knowledge and expertise that we expect of nominees to the Appeals Court, as well as strong bipartisan support. Sri is the first South Asian American to ever be nominated to a US Court of Appeals, and he would be only the third South Asian American to be confirmed to any federal judgeship. Our judicial system benefits from such diversity amongst its many members," Warner said.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy said that the hearing was originally planned for January, but was delayed at the request of Republicans.
"I`d like to get this nomination voted on," he said.
During the confirmation hearing, influential Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said Srinivasan would make a "great" judge and said that he was terrific.
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer asked what possible reason could someone have to object to his nomination.
Besides Indian American Congressman Dr Ami Bera, a large number of Indian Americans and his supporters attended the confirmation hearing. Along with several other groups, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) submitted a testimony to support Srinivasan.
"Mr Srinivasan has the experience, intellectual capacity, integrity, and judicial temperament to serve as an excellent circuit court judge. Moreover, Mr Srinivasan has the strong backing of the Asian Pacific American community nationally," it said.
Earlier, a bipartisan group of 12 former solicitors general in a letter urged the Senate to confirm him.
"Sri is one of the best appellate lawyers in the country," reads the letter, which was signed by former George W Bush solicitors general Theodore Olson and Paul Clement.
Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas.
He received his BA with honours and distinction in 1989 from Stanford University and his JD (Juris Doctor) with distinction in 1995 from Stanford Law School, where he was elected to Order of the Coif and served as an editor of the Stanford Law Review.
He also holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which he received along with his JD in 1995.
Srinivasan began his legal career by serving as a law clerk for Judge J Harvie Wilkinson on the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1995 to 1996.
He then spent a year as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General before clerking for Justice Sandra Day O`Connor during the Supreme Court`s 1997-98 term.
He was an associate at the law firm of O`Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, DC, from 1998 until 2002.
In 2002, he returned to the Solicitor General`s Office as an Assistant to the Solicitor General, representing the US in litigation before the Supreme Court.
For his work, he 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.
In 2007, Srinivasan became a partner with O`Melveny & Myers LLP. In 2011, he was named the Chair of the firm`s Appellate Practice Group. He was named as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General in August 2011.