WASHINGTON — President Obama is reportedly vetting Sri Srinivasan, 49, federal appellate judge who has enjoyed substantial support from Republicans in the past, as potential nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy that has set off a brutal election-year fight.
Jane L. Kelly and Merrick B. Garland, both federal appellate judges, and Ketanji Brown Jackson, a federal trial judge, are among others, reportedly being vetted by President Obama for the vacancy in the highest Court in the country. Reports state that they are undergoing background checks by the F.B.I. The White House has not given any indication in this regard.
“President Obama is vetting Merrick B. Garland and Sri Srinivasan, federal appellate judges who have enjoyed substantial support from Republicans in the past, as potential nominees for a Supreme Court vacancy that has set off a brutal election-year fight,” The New York Times reported March 5.
Taken together, the names help flesh out a list of potential nominees for an appointment that could reshape the court and the country. A replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon who died on Feb. 13, could hold the deciding vote on matters of abortion rights, guns, the environment, campaign finance and a wide range of other issues.
Srinivasan is currently the U.S. circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which many call as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. He is not only considered a favorite of Obama, who called him a trailblazer, but also his nomination was confirmed by a record 97-0 vote.
Srinivasan was sworn in as judge Sept. 26, 2013, making him the first Indian American to be on the bench of the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit. Retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor has called Srinivasan “fair, faultless and fabulous.” 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.
Amidst protests from Republicans, President Obama has said he has an obligation under the Constitution, which says he “shall” nominate Supreme Court justices, to fill the vacancy. Public opinion polls indicate that large majorities of Americans believe that the Senate should hold confirmation hearings.