Indian-American Sri Srinivasan, who enjoys a substantial support among Republicans, is among the three candidates being vetted by US President Barack Obama as potential nominees for a rare vacancy at the Supreme Court.
“President Obama is vetting Merrick B Garland and Sri Srinivasan, federal appellate judges who have enjoyed substantial support from Republicans in the past, as potential nominees for a Supreme Court vacancy that has set off a brutal election-year fight,” The New York Times reported today.
According to a person knowledgeable about the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it has been cloaked in secrecy, Judge Garland, 63, and Judge Srinivasan, 49, are undergoing background checks by the FBI, it said.
The White House has not given any indication in this regard. The report, however, said that the White House was also vetting Ketanji Brown Jackson, 45, a federal trial judge.
Following the death of Antonin Scalia, the first Italian American judge of the Supreme Court, early this month, there is a rare vacancy in the country’s top court.
Padmanabhan Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan, is currently the US Circuit Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – which many call as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court.
He is not only considered a favorite of Obama, who called him a trailblazer, but also his nomination was confirmed by a record 97-0 votes, which is a no mean achievement given the bitter political divide in the American Senate.
Srinivasan was sworn-in as judge of the second-most powerful court of the US on September 26, 2013, making him the first Indian-American to be on the bench of the US Courts of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor has called Srinivasan “fair, faultless and fabulous.”
Srinivasan began his legal career by serving as a law clerk from 1995 to 1996. He then spent a year as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General before clerking for Justice 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 United States in litigation before the Supreme Court.
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.
Srinivasan received his BA with honours and distinction in 1989 from Stanford University and his JD with distinction in 1995 from Stanford Law School, where he was elected to Order of the Coif and served as an editor of 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’s mother is from Chennai and father was from Tirunelveli. His parents came to the US in the 1960s, returned to India, and then returned in 1971 to Kansas.