Senior U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was announced dead on Saturday, Feb. 13. Details of the cause of death are still emerging. However, soon after the announcement of Justice Scalia’s death, people are already starting to think of replacements to take his spot in the Supreme Court. More specifically, the name Sri Srinivasan — a government lawyer for the United States Court of Appeals in the D.C. Circuit — has been brought up in the wake of Scalia’s death.
Many have reported that Srinivasan is among the names being thrown around as a front-runner to take Scalia’s seat. It’s time to find out more about him.
Srinivasan was the first Asian American and Indian American to serve of the Court of Appeals in the D.C. circuit. President Obama nominated Srinivasan to sit on the Court of Appeals, which is the second most powerful court in the U.S. With a background as a litigator, there has been criticism that much of Srinivasan’s career was spent defending others’ views rather than his own, which could have been problematic as a government lawyer, according to Mother Jones. However, Srinivasan proved his qualifications as a lawyer when he argued for same-sex marriage in front of the Supreme Court in 2013. This was a big win for Srinivasan that showed others he could be fit to serve on the Court, and now people are looking to him as a possible replacement for Justice Scalia.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has been a sort of launching pad for Supreme Court Justices in the past; Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Antonin Scalia all got their start there before serving on the Supreme Court. That means that Srinivasan, with experience on the D.C. Circuit and a strong background in litigation, could likely end up as Scalia’s replacement.
Although Hillary Clinton reportedly wants to appoint Obama to SCOTUS, the nomination and confirmation processes could take up to a year, and Obama has less than that left in office. Moreover, with replacing a conservative justice like Scalia with Obama, who has more liberal views, the political ideology among SCOTUS justices would become imbalanced. That is where Srinivasan emerges as a viable replacement: Even though Srinivasan was appointed by Obama and has left-leaning views (i.e. defending same-sex marriage), his background as a litigator fighting for others’ views could put him in a good position to objectively approach right-leaning issues (like maintaining the 2nd Amendment).