Washington: Indian-American Srikanth Srinivasan inched closer to scripting history as the first South Asian judge after a key Senate committee confirmed his nomination to the DC Circuit Court, America's second highest. Described as "trailblazer" by US President Barack Obama, Chandigarh-born Srinivasan's nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was unanimously approved by the 18-member Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
He was first nominated to the post by Obama nearly one year ago, and if confirmed, he would fill one of the four vacancies on the DC Circuit. "I am glad we are moving forward with this fine nominee in a bipartisan way," said Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Srinivasan, 46, now has to be confirmed by the Senate before he becomes the first Indian American to be appointed to the top American court. Srinivasan is currently principal US Deputy Solicitor General and is a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Congressman Ami Bera, the only Indian American lawmaker in the US House of Representatives, in a statement said he is "pleased" that the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved his appointment to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Bera hoped that the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will swiftly bring the appointment to the Senate floor for a vote.
"Sri is widely regarded as one of the best legal minds in the country, and his breadth of experience makes him extremely well-qualified for the appointment to one of our country's most important courts," he said. "His appointment would also be historic for the Indian American and Asian American community. Representation of Indian Americans within our judicial system is overdue," Bera said.
Srinivasan successfully worked for both Republican and Democratic Administrations and has bipartisan support from the legal community. If confirmed, he would become the first Asian American on the DC Circuit and the first Indian American to serve as a federal circuit court judge. DC Circuit Court is America's second highest after the Supreme Court.
Srinivasan was first nominated by Obama on June 11, 2012. On January 2, 2013, his nomination was returned to the President, due to the sine die adjournment of the Senate and on next day Obama re-nominated him for the same office. Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas.
He received his BA with honors 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. 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 Defense Award for Excellence in 2005.