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Meet the Tamil-origin lawyer who could transform the US Supreme Court.


A Chandigarh-born Tamil-origin lawyer could be named to the highest court of the United States.

Judge Sri Srinivasan is vying to be nominated to the US Supreme Court following the death of long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia who died on 13 February.

President Barack Obama is likely to choose between Judge Srinivasan or Judge Merrick Garland as his pick and the announcement could come as early as Wednesday.

According to Reuters, the team of Obama advisers helping to vet candidates, line up their public supporters and answer the president’s questions had finished its work.

With Scalia’s death, the court is divided 4-4 between conservatives and liberals.

Obama’s nominee could move the court to the left for the first time in decades.

The appointment however, could be delayed as Republicans – who control the US Senate which has to confirm the nominee – want to hold out in the hope that a Conservative is back in the White House in 2017.

Mr Srinivasan, 49, serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – along with Mr Garland.

That appeals court has served as a springboard to the Supreme Court for several justices including Scalia in recent decades.

Mr Srinivasan would be the first Asian-American and first Hindu on the Supreme court.  Obama appointed him to the appeals court in 2013 after he received unanimous support from across the American political spectrum.

He could appeal to the president’s long-declared interest in bringing more diversity to the bench.

Mr Srinivasan has served in the Justice Department under Democratic and Republican presidents and worked as a clerk to the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor, a Republican appointee.

Mr Srinivasan also has youth on his side given that the Supreme Court appointment is one for life.

Born Padmanabhan Srikanth Srinivasan in Chandigarh, Mr Srinivasan’s family first came to the United States in the late 1960’s when his father received a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of California, Berkeley.

The family eventually settled in Kansas where Mr Srinivasan grew up.

His father was a professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas, and his mother taught at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Mr Srinivasan studied law and business at Stanford before working for a number of corporate law firms representing such giants as Exxon and Enron.

He was also a lecturer at Harvard Law School before being appointed Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States in 2011.



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