WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 11, 2012) — President Obama on Monday nominated Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
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. The President also nominated Caitlin Halligan, a General Counsel for the New York County District Attorney’s Office to the D.C. Circuit.
“Caitlin Halligan and Sri Srinivasan are dedicated public servants who will bring their tremendous experience, intellect, and integrity to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,” Obama said. “This important court is often called the Nation’s second-highest court, and it stands more than a quarter vacant.
“I remain deeply disappointed that a minority of the United States Senate blocked Ms. Halligan’s nomination last year and urge her reconsideration, especially given her broad bipartisan support from the legal and law enforcement communities,” he added. “Mr. Srinivasan will be a trailblazer and, like Ms. Halligan, will serve the court with distinction and excellence.”
Srikanth “Sri” 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.
Srinivasan 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, Mr. 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.
U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, CA-32, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said President Obama has already broken barriers by more than doubling the number of Asian Americans on the federal bench, including the only two Asian American judges currently serving at the appellate court level. She said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit, one of the most important courts in the country.
“Mr. Srinivasan is exceptionally well qualified and a trailblazer as the first South Asian American to ever be nominated for a federal appellate court,” Chu said. “I commend the President for his commitment to putting forth highly qualified and diverse judicial nominees, and I urge my Senate colleagues to move forward with Mr. Srinivasan’s confirmation process.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, CA-15, CAPAC Chair Emeritus, said Srinivasan is an exemplary public servant and an appropriate choice for the nation’s second most powerful court.
“This nominee exemplifies the Obama Administration’s commitment to a highly qualified bench, as well as the President’s commitment to diversity that truly reflects America,” Honda said. “As Chair Emeritus, I thank President Obama for his leadership with this nomination. I now urge the Senate to act swiftly in confirming this nominee to ensure a more diverse Asian American Pacific Islander representation in all branches of government.”
Nimesh M. Patel, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, said Sri Srinivasan is an exemplary attorney who has the judgment, experience, and temperament to be an outstanding addition to the D.C. Circuit.
“NAPABA is extremely pleased that President Obama has nominated Mr. Srinivasan to the bench, and we plan to work with the Senate to ensure that he is confirmed to the D.C. Circuit as soon as possible,” Patel said. “This is truly a historic nomination.”
Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, commended the nomination.
“Mr. Srinivasan is one of the nation’s most experienced appellate attorneys and he clearly possesses the credentials and experience to serve with distinction on this important court,” Moua said.
NAPABA and AAJC applaud President Obama for this historic nomination and his long-standing commitment to nominating well-qualified, diverse candidates to the federal judiciary. Since 2009, President Obama has more than doubled the number of Asian Pacific American Article III judges. Still, Asian Pacific Americans are significantly underrepresented in the federal judiciary.
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.