Chandigarh born Srikanth ‘Sri’ Srinivasan is being vetted by President Obama as a potential nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy, along with few other candidates. Judge Merrick B. Garland and Judge Srinivasan are undergoing background checks by the FBI, The New York Times reported. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and Judge Jane L. Kelly have also been reported as being potential candidates for the post which fell vacant after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s sudden demise last month. All the candidates whose names have leaked out till now share the distinction of appearing to hold some degree of palatability to Republicans.
Mr. Srikanth’s father hailed from Mela Thiruvenkatanathapuram, a village near Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. His family, including two younger sisters, migrated in the late 1960s to Lawrence, Kansas. His father was a professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas, and his mother taught at the Kansas City Art Institute and later worked at the University of Kansas computer science department.
Mr. Srikanth was a high school basketball star in Kansas before attending Stanford University, which he graduated from in 1989. During his stint as a lawyer, one of his most high-profile cases was the defense of Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron executive, in his appearance before the Supreme Court in Skilling v. United States.
He was also the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United State. As Deputy Solicitor General, Mr. Srikanth led the Obama administration’s case against the Defense of Marriage Act, which resulted in same-sex marriage becoming constitutional throughout the country, as well as cases in favor of affirmative action policies and opposing restrictive voting laws.
He was nominated by President Obama and confirmed to the Federal Bench by the Senate in May, 2013 by a historical 97-0 vote. Among the Republican senators who voted in his favor were current GOP presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. It should be noted here that soon after the news of Justice Scalia’s death became public, it was Ted Cruz who voiced his objections against President Obama appointing Justice Scalia’s successor. “Justice Scalia was an American hero. We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement,” he tweeted.
You may read: Antonin Scalia & Originalism: A Critique, by: Namit Saxena