WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Monday nominated India-born legal luminary Srikanth Srinivasan to the Federal Court of Appeals, the highest ever judicial appointment of anIndian-American in the US and a powerful reminder of the extraordinary strides the community has made while deeply integrating into American society.
The nomination, which will have to be confirmed by the US Senate, puts an Indian-American in one of the most powerful positions in the American judicial system, since the US Court of Appeals sets legal precedent in regions that cover millions of people.
There are 13 Court of Appeals across the US with 179 judges, and the Washington DC Appeals Court to which Srinivasan has been nominated is considered particularly influential, with Obama himself calling it "the nation's second highest court".
Because the US Supreme Court hears less than 100 of the more than 10,000 cases filed with it annually, Courts of Appeals serve as the final arbiter on most federal cases. If confirmed, the judgeship is a lifetime tenure.
"Caitlin Halligan and Sri Srinivasan are dedicated public servants who will bring their tremendous experience, intellect, and integrity to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit," Obama said. "This important court is often called the nation's second highest court, and it stands more than a quarter vacant. Mr Srinivasan will be a trailblazer and, like Ms Halligan, will serve the court with distinction and excellence."
The appointment electrified the Indian-American community. "We are tugging on the arc of history and bending it towards justice-...gaining political popularity, strength and sophistication," exulted Toby Chaudhuri, a Democratic strategist who has worked with the Clinton, Gore, and Obama campaigns.