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Indian-American Judge Sri Srinivasan Could Replace Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Sri Srinivasan
3 min read

by Anita J. Kharbhanda 

Sri Srinivasan—an Indian native and Justice Department litigator, confirmed to the nation’s second-highest court—is being viewed a top contender as the Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

According to a recent USA Today article, President Barack Obama said,

“Sri is a trailblazer who personifies the best of America.”

Srinivasan is described as a moderate with incredibly high intellect, a respect and vast understanding of the law, and a compassionate family man.

Those he has worked with inevitably confirm this.  

“He is absolutely a brilliant thinker, gifted lawyer, fair-minded person, generous and warm,” Lisa Kern Griffin, a Duke University professor who clerked with Srinivasan at the Supreme Court, said.

Griffin went further on to say,

‘’He is one of those rare people who has the ability to get along with anyone.”

Walter Dellinger who also worked with Obama at the solicitor general’s office and in private law practice stated,

“Sri is a favorite of everyone who works in any building in which he has held a job, from the cleaning staff to the head of the company. It takes forever to walk with Sri through a building in which he works — everyone who works there in any position wants to talk with him.”

Srinivasan once took a piece of paper to argue a high court case to avoid looking over confident. But to your surprise, the paper was blank, and maybe this is the type of Supreme Court Justice America needs.

Srinivasan might be best known for his contribution to the ruling that eventually lead to the legalization of gay marriage in June 2015. Specifically, he was part of the legal team that urged the high court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.  The Defense of Marriage Act restricted the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples for the purposes of federal benefits.

[Read Related: After #LoveWins——On Sharing Queerness in South Asian Families]

Obama is waiting until the Senate returns from their recess on February 22, 2016 before making his nomination. However, many Republicans prefer to wait until the new president is elected in January 2017 to nominate a replacement.  

If Srinivasan is nominated, however, it will be difficult for the Senate to reject him due to him serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since he was confirmed on a 97-0 bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate in May 2013. If Republicans, who supported him then, rejected his nomination now, they would be asked to justify themselves.

While there are likely other potential nominees, Supreme Court justices tend to be appeals court judges, and the appeals court in Washington which Srinivasan serves on, is typically the jumping point to the high court. Scalia himself moved to the high court in the same fashion.

There are many open cases the new Supreme Court justice would be involved in, including abortion rights in Texas, immigration, and cases related to religion. If Srinivasan is nominated, he would be involved in these cases, and while it is not known specifically where he stands as it relates to these issues, we are certain that if given the opportunity, he will use sound judgement.

Sri Srinivasan, we are looking forward to your nomination.

Anita KAnita Kharbhanda is a mother, wife, reader, writer, singer, and runner. She loves the laughter of children, strong character and sweet foods. She wears her family and culture like badges of honor.