U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit nominee Sri Srinivasan will get a confirmation hearing this month, and he’s receiving more support from some top Washington lawyers.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled an April 10 hearing for Srinivasan, currently the principle deputy solicitor general. President Barack Obama first nominated Srinivasan ten months ago.
Republicans have delayed Srinivasan's hearing, saying they want to know more about his role in the abrupt settlement of a Fair Housing Act case a year ago and get more documents about the case from the Department of Justice. But committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) last month announced he had accommodated the Republicans' request for more time and that "if some members have questions or concerns, they can raise them with the nominee directly."
The 11-member D.C. Circuit now has four vacancies. Obama completed his first term without having a nominee to that court confirmed. In March, another D.C. Circuit nominee, Caitlin Halligan, withdrew from consideration after Republicans repeatedly blocked her nomination for more than two years.
Srinivasan, formerly the chair of O’Melveny & Myers' appellate and Supreme Court practice, was appointed as principal deputy solicitor general in August 2011.
On Monday, 12 lawyers who were either solicitor general or deputy solicitor general sent a letter to Leahy and Grassley, urging their support for Srinivasan as a nominee with "a first-rate intellect, an open-minded approach to the law, a strong work ethic, and an unimpeachable character."
The letter was signed by attorneys who worked in the office during both Democratic and Republican administrations, including former solicitors general Ted Olson of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher; Paul Clement of Bancroft; Seth Waxman of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Gregory Garre of Latham & Watkins; Drew Days formerly of Morrison & Foerster and Kenneth Starr.
"While in the Solicitor General's office, Sri quickly grasped the nuances of a wide array of legal issues, drafted finely written briefs, and clearly articulated the position of the United States," the letter states. "He is extremely well prepared to take on the intellectual rigors of serving as a judge on the DC Circuit."
Others who signed the letter: former acting solicitors general Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells and Walter Dellinger of O’Melveny & Myers; and former principal deputy solicitors general Daryl Joseffer of King & Spalding, New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, Paul Bender and Donald Ayer of Jones Day.
The White House spokesman brought up Srinivasan’s confirmation hearing and the letter today. "The D.C. Circuit, as you know, is often considered the nation's second-highest court, but it has twice as many vacancies as any other court of appeals, and its workload has increased by over 20 percent since 2005," spokesman Jay Carney said.
"Sri's confirmation will be an important first step to filling this court's four vacancies, and he will be, when confirmed, the first South Asian circuit court judge in history," Carney said.