Indian-American judge Sri Srinivasan named as chief judge of federal circuit court

The first South-Asian origin judge to lead this powerful circuit


March 2, 2020

/ By / Kolkata

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Padmanabhan Srikanth Srinivasan (credit: livemint)

Judge Srinivasan of Indian-origin who as part of the DC circuit has been involved in a number of environmental laws, immigration, abortion and gun laws, has been named as the chief judge of US Court of Appeals for DC circuit.

Indian-American judge Sri Srinivasan has become the first person of South Asian descent to be named as the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for DC circuit. The 52-year old jurist was an Obama appointee who has already been considered for a Supreme Court seat twice. He succeeded judge Merrick Garland who has been a member of the DC circuit since 1997 and chief judge since 2013.

An alumnus of Stanford Law School, Srinivasan was appointed to the court in 2013 by Obama and sailed through his Senate confirmation process. He is the first Indian-American and the first Asian-American to serve as chief judge to this powerful court. Indian-American Neomi Rao, nominated by President Donald Trump in 2018, is the second Indian-American on this powerful judiciary bench.

With this new position, Srinivasan will now sit on the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is the policy-making body of the federal judiciary making decisions to help advance the DC circuit on technology and transparency.

According to the National Law Journal, while Srinivasan “is not purposeful choice for chief judgeship, having a person of colour sitting at the top of such a prominent appellate court is likely to give a boost to diversity in the federal judiciary, which has been criticized for being predominantly male and white.”

“Everybody doubts their belonging and worthiness in some measure. I definitely did – and still do. This is just going to be a part of the thing when you’re looking out in the world in which everyone isn’t like you. It’s natural to doubt whether you belong and whether you’re worthy, but you do belong and you are worthy,” he said at an event celebrating women in law according to the Washington Post.

Hailing from Chandigarh in north India, Srinivasan spent his growing period in Lawrence, Kansas. He went on to complete his bachelors from Stanford University and JD from Stanford Law School followed by an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

In his working time, he has served as a law clerk to judge J Harvie Wilkinson III of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, as a Bristow fellow in the office of the US solicitor-general and as a law clerk to US Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He also served as the principal deputy solicitor-general of the United States from 2011 until his appointment to the US Court of Appeals.



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