This Article is From Feb 15, 2016

Indian-American, In Race For Next Supreme Court Justice, Has A Stellar Resume

Indian-American, In Race For Next Supreme Court Justice, Has A Stellar Resume

Sri Srinivasan is pictured in this undated photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice. (Reuters Photo)


  • Indian-American tipped to be Obama's choice for new Supreme Court justice
  • Sri Srinivasan currently judge in second most powerful court in US
  • Republicans say they plan to block anyone put forward by President Obama
Washington: One possible contender to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the US Supreme Court is an Indian-American appeals court judge, Sri Srinivasan, who has pro-business credentials and a stellar resume.

If he was nominated his background may make it more politically challenging for Republicans as they plan to block anyone put forward by President Barack Obama.

Srinivasan, 48, has served on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  

Many names are likely under consideration and the White House has not tipped its hand, but recent Supreme Court appointments have tended to be appeals court judges and the appeals court in Washington on which Srinivasan serves has often been a springboard to the high court. Scalia himself served on the court, as did other Supreme Court members Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The White House said on Sunday that Obama will wait until the US Senate is back in session before making a nomination. The Senate returns from recess on February 22.

Republicans have called for Scalia's seat to remain open so that the next president, who would take office in January 2017, can nominate a replacement.

Little is known about Srinivasan's views on divisive social issues like abortion and affirmative action. But as a senior Justice Department lawyer in 2013, he was part of the legal team that successfully urged the high court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that restricted the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples for the purposes of federal benefits. The ruling helped pave the way for the court's ruling in June 2015 that legalized gay marriage nationwide.

Srinivasan could not be reached for comment.

In private practice, prior to his appointment to the appeals court, Srinivasan successfully represented former Enron Corp CEO Jeff Skilling in a Supreme Court case.

Srinivasan also represented Exxon Mobil Corp in a lawsuit alleging human rights abuses in Indonesia, and mining giant Rio Tinto in a similar case about its activities in Papua New Guinea. Both cases concerned in part whether a law called the Alien Tort Statute allows such cases to be heard in US courts.

Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, India and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, where his father was a professor at the University of Kansas. If appointed, he would be the first Indian-American to serve on the Supreme Court.

He played basketball in high school and then attended Stanford for undergraduate, business and law degrees, When he was an advocate before the Supreme Court, he carried in his pockets for good luck the socks his twin son and daughter wore when they were newborns.
© Thomson Reuters 2016