President Barack Obama has named two prominent appellate attorneys to fill long-standing vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the White House announced Monday.
Obama chose Srikanth Srinivasan, principal deputy solicitor general of the United States, and Caitlin Halligan, general counsel for the New York County District Attorney’s office.
“Caitlin Halligan and Sri Srinivasan are dedicated public servants who will bring their tremendous experience, intellect, and integrity to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,” Obama said in a written statement. “Mr. Srinivasan will be a trailblazer and, like Ms. Halligan, will serve the court with distinction and excellence.”
This is Srinivasan’s second stint with the Solicitor General’s office. He first joined the office in 2002 as an assistant to the Solicitor General. Srinivasan subsequently returned to O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, where he was later named chair of the firm’s appellate practice group.
In an interview, Walter Dellinger, head of O’Melveny & Myers' Supreme Court and appellate practice clinic, said Srinivasan was a fine selection.
“What is striking about Sri is that he is always to open to persuasion,” Dellinger said. “He is a great listener and he has the intellect and the manner to effectively persuade others.”
Dellinger said that he could one day see Srinivasan sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court. He said Srinivasan is currently one of a handful of the best advocates before the court.
“He ought to have an easy road to confirmation,” Dellinger said.
Jonathan Hacker, chair of O’Melveny’s Supreme Court and appellate practice, echoed Dellinger’s sentiments.
“The president could not have nominated a better lawyer with greater character than Sri,” Hacker said. “He will be an excellent addition to the court.”
In his appearances before the Supreme Court, Srinivasan chalked up wins in Hertz Corp. v. Friend and Skilling v. US during the 2009 term.
For Halligan, this is her second time through the nomination process. Her first nomination to the D.C. Circuit bench was blocked in December 2011 by Senate Republicans. Halligan served as solicitor general of New York State from 2001 to 2006, where she oversaw a staff of about 50 attorneys. In 2007, she joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where she served as head of the firm’s appellate practice until she took her current post in 2010.
“I remain deeply disappointed that a minority of the United States Senate blocked Ms. Halligan’s nomination last year and urge her reconsideration, especially given her broad bipartisan support from the legal and law enforcement communities,” Obama said in the statement.
Photo by The National Law Journal's Diego M. Radzinschi.