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Obama says Srinivasan will serve with distinction as judge of US top court

Describing him as a 'trailblazer' who personifies the best of America, the US President Barack Obama has said that Indian-American Srikanth Srinivasan will serve as a judge of America's second highest court 'with distinction'.

world Updated: May 24, 2013 11:57 IST
Barack Obama,Srikanth Srinivasan,US Court of Appeals

Describing him as a "trailblazer"who personifies the best of America, 1the US President Barack Obama has said that Indian-American Srikanth Srinivasan will serve as a judge of America's second highest court "with distinction".

Chandigarh-born Srinivasan's nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was unanimously approved by the Senate on Thursday, with 97 voting in favor.

46-year-old Srinivasan has become the first South Asian to be appointed to the top American court.

"Sri is a trailblazer who personifies the best of America. Now he will serve with distinction on the federal bench," Obama said in a statement.

"Sri will in fact be the first South Asian American to serve as a circuit court judge in our history. Born in Chandigarh, India, and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Sri spent nearly two decades as an extraordinary litigator before serving as Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States," Obama said on Thursday.

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. On January 3, 2013, Obama re-nominated him for the same office.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, hailed the appointment to what is considered as the top court of the country after the Supreme Court.

Senator Mark R Warner, co-chair of the bipartisan Senate India Caucus, said he is delighted with the unanimous confirmation. Warner had introduced Srinivasan in the Judiciary Committee earlier this year.

"Sri is exceptionally well qualified and possesses the credentials, experience, knowledge, and judgment that this eminent position requires, as well as strong support from a broad range of colleagues in the legal community," said Warner.

"The enthusiastic bipartisan support he has received reflects his effective work for both Democratic and Republican administrations and numerous well respected judges," he added.

"His approval also has great significance for the Indian-American community, which despite an incredibly rich talent pool in the legal arena, is underrepresented at the highest levels of our legal system. Sri Srinavasan is poised to change that as he continues his exceptional career," Warner said.

Indian-American Congressman Dr Ami Bera said he is thrilled at the unanimous confirmation of Srinivasan.

"I'm thrilled that the Senate confirmed Sri Srinivasan to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals today," said Bera. Bera had written a letter to the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in this regard on Wednesday.

"He will be an outstanding, fair-minded judge. This is a historic moment for all Indian Americans and Asian Americans, and it's a fitting way to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May," Bera said.

"Indian Americans have contributed to this country in many important ways, and we need to see more members of our community involved at all levels of government. I will continue to support aspiring, qualified Indian American leaders," he said.

"Sri Srinivasan made history today. As the first South Asian on the U S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Sri will offer a unique perspective and added diversity that is long overdue in our justice system," said Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress.

"Srinivasan has a distinguished and proven record of commitment to public service, and I look forward to his contributions to the bench," Gabbard said.

Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas.

He received his BA with honours 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.

He has received the Attorney General's Award for Excellence in furthering US national security in 2003 and the Office of the Secretary of Defence Award for Excellence in 2005.

First Published: May 24, 2013 09:56 IST