Judiciary

A 'terrific' DC Circuit nominee? Hatch backs Srinivasan, subject of Supreme Court speculation


Sri Srinivasan, President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, encountered no opposition before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah was among the Republicans on the committee who appeared to support Srinivasan, report Reuters, the Associated Press and the National Law Journal. Hatch said he is bothered by some issues but “I want to support you.”

“I’m really impressed by you,” Hatch said. “I think you’re terrific.”

A deputy solicitor general who has argued 24 cases before the Supreme Court, Srinivasan has clerked for two Reagan appointees, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the Richmond, Va.-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A New Yorker Daily Comment blog post predicts that Srinivasan will be Obama’s next Supreme Court nominee if he wins confirmation to the D.C. Circuit.

The D.C. Circuit has four vacancies. Obama has nominated just one other lawyer to the D.C. Circuit—Caitlin Halligan, who withdrew her nomination amid Republican opposition. During the hearing, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., complained that Halligan had received “shameful treatment” and said “the hard right wants to use the D.C. Circuit to undo” decisions on issues such as environmental protection and financial regulation. The court’s current active judges are currently made up of four Republican appointees and three Democratic appointees.

As the hearing began, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, announced that he is introducing a bill to reduce the number of judges on the circuit from 11 to eight. One judgeship each would be added to the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd and 11th Circuits, which have higher caseloads per judge, Grassley said.

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