WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 3, 2013) — President Barack Obama on Thursday re-nominated Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The decision came with the re-nomination of 33 other previously nominated persons for federal judgeships in the 112th Congress.
Pamela Ki Mai Chen was re-nominated for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Derrick Kahala Watson was re-nominated Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.
“Today, I am re-nominating thirty-three highly qualified candidates for the federal bench, including many who could have and should have been confirmed before the Senate adjourned,” said President Obama. “Several have been awaiting a vote for more than six months, even though they all enjoy bipartisan support.
“I continue to be grateful for their willingness to serve and remain confident that they will apply the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity,” he added. “I urge the Senate to consider and confirm these nominees without delay, so all Americans can have equal and timely access to justice.”
Obama first nominated Srinivasan for the position on June 11, 2012. If confirmed, Srinivasan will be the first Asian American in history to serve on the D.C. Circuit, and the first South Asian American to ever serve as a federal appellate court judge.
There are currently only two active Asian Pacific American federal appellate judges in the entire nation, and only six Asian Pacific Americans have ever served on the federal courts of appeal in American history.
Srinivasan is the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States. He is a highly-respected appellate advocate who has spent a distinguished career litigating before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals, both on behalf of the United States and in private practice.
He began his legal career by serving as a law clerk for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. 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, D.C., 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. For his work, he received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering U.S. National Security in 2003 and the Office of the Secretary of Defense 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.
Srinivasan is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading appellate and Supreme Court advocates. He has argued before the Supreme Court twenty times, drafted briefs in several dozen additional cases, and has also served as lead counsel in numerous cases before the federal and state appellate courts. He has also served as a lecturer at Harvard Law School, where he taught a class on appellate advocacy.
Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, India, and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas. He received his B.A. with honors and distinction in 1989 from Stanford University and his J.D. 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 M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which he received along with his J.D. in 1995.
Obama first nominated Pamela Chen to serve in August 2012. If confirmed, Chen would become the second Chinese American woman and the fifth openly gay nominee to serve in the federal judiciary.
Since 1998, Pamela Ki Mai Chen has been an Assistant United States Attorney in New York, aside from a brief four-month period in 2008 when she served as Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement for the New York State Division of Human Rights. During her time at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Chen served as Chief of the Civil Rights Section and Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity Section.
Chen’s experience also includes being a trial attorney in the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division at the United States Department of Justice from 1991 to 1998. Chen received her law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1986 and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in 1983.
She began her legal career in Washington, D.C., at the criminal defense firm of Asbill, Junkin, Myers & Buffone from 1989 to 1991, and at the law firm of Arnold & Porter from 1986 to 1989.
Obama first nominated Derrick Kahala Watson to serve in November 2012. If confirmed, Watson will be the only person of Native Hawaiian descent serving as an Article III judge, and only the fourth to serve in United States history.
If confirmed, Watson will be the only person of native Hawaiian descent serving as an Article III judge, and the fourth in American history. Watson brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from his robust career in the legal field, especially in his background with civil justice and rights. I now urge the Senate to act swiftly in confirming Watson’s nomination to ensure a more diverse representation in all branches of government.
Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are markedly absent from the federal judiciary. No Native Hawaiians currently serve as Article III judges, and no Native Americans serve on the federal bench. Watson, who is currently the Chief of the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii, would break that trend.
His prior experiences include private practice in San Francisco and several years in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. Watson also served in the United States Army Reserve and was a Captain in the JAG Corps from 1998- 2006. After attending the Kamehameha Schools, he went on to Harvard College and Harvard Law School.