The Washington Post

Sri Srinivasan approved by Senate Judiciary Committee

A Senate panel on Thursday approved a key nominee for one of the country’s most powerful courts, handing President Obama a victory in his push to fill federal judicial vacancies.

Deputy Solicitor General Sri Srinivasan, who President Obama has nominated to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. (Photo: US Department of Justice)

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Sri Srinivasan, the principal deputy solicitor general, for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is one notch below the Supreme Court and considers most legal challenges to executive actions. The nomination will be referred to the full Senate.

The court has four Republican and three Democratic appointees and four vacancies, and filling slots on the bench has proven difficult for Obama. During his first term, the court blocked rules to curb interstate air pollution and enhance cigarette labeling while delaying decisions on workers’ rights.

Before the vote, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) called Srinivasan "a talented attorney" and said he embodies "the correct judicial temperament" to serve on the court.

But Grassley and other Republicans on the panel expressed concerns with recent press reports and op-eds suggesting that Obama is seeking to pack the appeals court with liberal-leaning justices. Citing the court's lighter workload when compared to other federal courts, Republican senators said they will need to be convinced that other vacancies need to be immediately filled.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a former federal law clerk, also said he would reintroduce legislation reducing the number of seats on the court.

Srinivasan is a Stanford University graduate who worked in President George W. Bush’s solicitor general’s office for five years before returning there under Obama in 2011. As Thursday's vote proved, he enjoys bipartisan support and the support of 12 former solicitors general and principal deputy solicitors general — six Democrats and six Republicans — who recently co-signed a letter backing his nomination.

The committee also approved Jennifer Dorsey, a nominee for a Nevada district court, by a vote of 10 to 8 and unanimously approved Raymond Chen, who is a nominee to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

After Thursday's votes, 12 federal judicial nominees now await full Senate consideration, including three that would fill "emergency vacancies" as defined by the federal court system, according to Democratic committee staffers.

Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.

Follow Ed O'Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Perks of private flying
Drawing as an act of defiance
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
Bao: The signature dish of San Francisco
From foster homes to the working world
Play Videos
How soccer is helping Philadelphia men kick the streets
Here's why you hate the sound of your own voice
The woman behind the Nats’ presidents ‘Star Wars’ makeover
Play Videos
How hackers can control your car from miles away
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
How much can one woman eat?
Next Story
Aaron Blake · May 16, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.