Sri Srinivasan’s nomination to the federal bench has kicked into high gear this week with a bipartisan boost from a dozen former Solicitors General and the White House urging his swift confirmation.
The chief deputy to the Solicitor General “has a first-rate intellect, an open-minded approach to the law, a strong work ethic and an unimpeachable character,” a bipartisan group of former Solicitors General wrote in an April 1 letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and ranking Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Signatories included former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal (2010-2011) and former Solicitors General Gregory G. Garre (2008-2009), Paul Clement (2004-2008) and Theodore B. Olson (2001-2004) among others.
“Sri is a lawyer’s lawyer,” Katyal told Main Justice today. “Brilliant, fair, open-minded, gracious, and kind. He’s everything the country could ask for in a judge.”
Srinivasan shared a courtroom with Clement and Olson last week when the Supreme Court heard arguments in two high-profile gay marriage cases.
Tapped nearly a year ago sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit., Srinivasan saw his nomination delayed by Senate Republicans questioning a disputed deal between the Justice Department and the city of St. Paul, Minn. over the dropping of a Supreme Court appeal regarding the Fair Housing Act.
The issue is getting added scrutiny because Civil Rights Division Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez played a role in the deal, and Republicans have vowed to ask him about it at his confirmation hearing later this month to be the next Secretary of Labor.
Last month, Leahy said that if “senators still have questions or concerns about his actions, they can ask Mr. Srinivasan directly at his hearing,” now slated for April 10.
Meanwhile, the White House has made Srinivasan’s nomination the focal point of its push to fill lingering judicial vacancies on the Washington appeals court.
“The D.C. Circuit, as you know, is often considered the nation’s second-highest court, but it has twice as many vacancies as any other court of appeals, and its workload has increased by over 20 percent since 2005,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday. “Sri’s confirmation will be an important first step to filling this court’s four vacancies, and he will be, when confirmed, the first South Asian circuit court judge in history.”
The nomination hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m., in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.