The Senate unanimously confirmed Sri Srinivasan on Thursday to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, one of the nation’s most influential courts.
The 97 to zero vote in favor of Srinivasan, the principal deputy solicitor general, marks the first time since 2006 that the Senate has confirmed a nominee to the D.C. Circuit. President Obama has been hoping to shift the conservative tilt of the court, which is poised to rule on several key elements of his second-term agenda in the months ahead.
Srinivasan is the first federal appeals court judge of South Asian descent, and he is a likely front-runner for a Supreme Court nomination if a vacancy arises during Obama’s term. Four of the high court’s nine justices served on the D.C. Circuit.
Obama described Srinivasan as “a trailblazer who personifies the best of America.”
Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, India, and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 4, settling in Lawrence, Kan. There, he became a star high school basketball player before receiving bachelor’s, law and business degrees from Stanford University.
Obama has faced opposition to several of his judicial nominees, but Srinivasan, who has worked under Republican and Democratic presidents, enjoyed broad bipartisan support.
In his statement, Obama noted that the D.C. Circuit still has three vacancies and that there are openings on other federal courts.
But Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said Obama does not have active nominees for the other D.C. Circuit seats. “It’s really hard to fill those vacancies if he doesn’t nominate anyone for the vacancies,” Stewart said.
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