Thursday 18th January 2018,

Bad Ass Asians

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White House vetting Asian American judge for SCOTUS post

posted by Randall

Sri Srinivasan

When he was sworn in as judge in 2013, Sri Srinivasan, placed his hand on the Hindu holy book, the Bhagwad Gita, held by his mother Saroja Srinivasan.

By Ed Diokno
One of the names being seriously considered to fill the vacant position on the U.S. Supreme Court is an Asian American. Judge Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — a traditional launching pad for Supreme Court nominees, is being vetted, according to reports.
The friends and former colleagues of the 48-year old Indian American judge are being interviewed, sources familiar with the vetting process told CNN yesterday.

The news of Srinivasan making the short list for a seat on the Supreme Court came days after the White House talked with Asian American leaders in an “off the record” phone conference March 3. Although no names were mentioned during the call, people had a chance to press that an Asian American candidate be seriously considered for the open seat.


Tina Matsuoka, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association in Washington, said the call signaled the White House’s acknowledgement of excitement in the Asian American community that the next Supreme Court justice could become the first Asian American to sit on the high court.


Ever since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month, Asian Americans, along with other interest groups, have been lobbying for President Obama to nominate a new justice quickly even though Republicans have vowed to block the nomination until 2017, when a new president will take office.


“We’ve been really excited that there’s a number of Asian Americans who have been talked about in the mainstream press, and it’s really galvanized the community,” Matsuoka said.

Srinivasan isn’t the only Asian American or immigrant who’s been talked up as a potential Obama nominee for the Court. There’s also Jacqueline Nguyen, an appeals court judge who once lived in a refugee camp with her Vietnamese family, and Goodwin Liu, a Taiwanese American justice from Georgia on the California Supreme Court. Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, a Mexican immigrant who is also on the California Supreme Court, is another potential option. But of these, experts say, Srinivasan is the likeliest choice.
Of course, there are many others being considered also besides Srinivasan.


Even though his father went to U.C. Berkeley, Srinivasan chose to get his undergrad degree across San Francisco Bay at Stanford, where he also got his law degree. He clerked with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and worked for the Solicitor General under the Bush and Obama administrations. He joined a Washington D.C. law firm before President Barack Obama first nominated him in 2012 for the D.C. appeals court, the same court where Scalia served before ascending to SCOTUS.

The Senate confirmed him 97-0 in April, 2013. During the confirmation hearings Sen. Ted Cruz noted that “we have been friends a long time.” Sen. Orrin Hatch, now the chamber’s most senior Republican, called him “terrific” and added “I do not believe judges should be filibustered.”
During the hearings, he parried questions regarding his positions on controversial issues by testifying that he doesn’t let his personal opinions affect his judicial decisions.

Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, India in 1967 and moved with his family to Lawrence, Kansas a few months later. His late father was a math professor at Kansas University; where his mother also taught art history and computer science. His sister Srinija was the fifth employee to join Yahoo.


There’s never been an Asian on SCOTUS. “It’s time for America to achieve that historic first,” said Jin Hwang, the president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, in an interview with Fusion.  “The reason why it’s important to have judges who look like the population is it instills more confidence in the justice system… People can feel more a part of society and not be considered a perpetual foreigner.”


(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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