Sri Srinivasan strode confidently into a Senate room today for his confirmation hearing as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He elicited chuckles from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) during pre-hearing chit-chat. His bipartisan supporters in the room included the two Virginia senators who introduced him, five congressman and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr.
But before Srinivasan even got a chance to speak, the hearing devolved into partisan arguments about the speed of judicial nominations in general. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) used the opening statements at the hearing to announce a bill that would reduce the number of judges on the D.C. Circuit from 11 to 8.
Grassley announced he would file the legislation, cosponsored by other Republicans on the judiciary committee like Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The bill would essentially transfer those judge positions to the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit, which Grassley contends has higher caseloads per judge.
The move underscored how, despite Srinivasan’s broad support and excellent legal pedigree, his nomination to the second highest court in the United States will have to navigate one of the most gridlocked parts of a gridlocked Senate.
Check back on The National Law Journal’s web page here for more from the hearing.