Washington: US President Barack Obama today described Srikanth Sri Srinivasan as a "trailblazer" who personifies the best of America and expressed confidence that the India-born legal luminary will serve as a judge in the country's second highest court "with distinction".
Chandigarh-born 46-year-old Srinivasan's nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, also referred as the nation's second-highest court, was unanimously approved by the Senate yesterday, with 97-0 vote.
With his confirmation, Srinivasan has become the first South Asian to be appointed to the top court, amid speculation that he may one day be tapped for the Supreme Court.
"Sri is a trailblazer who personifies the best of America. Now he will serve with distinction on the federal bench," Obama said in a statement.
"Sri will in fact be the first South Asian American to serve as a circuit court judge in our history... Sri spent nearly two decades as an extraordinary litigator before serving as Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States," Obama said.
Srinivasan was first nominated by Obama on June 11, 2012. On January 2, 2013, his nomination was returned to the President, due to the sine die adjournment of the Senate. On January 3, 2013, Obama re-nominated him for the same office.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, hailed the appointment to what is considered as the top court of the country after the Supreme Court.
Senator Mark R Warner, co-chair of the bipartisan Senate India Caucus, said he is delighted with the unanimous confirmation. Warner had introduced Srinivasan in the Judiciary Committee earlier this year.
"Sri is exceptionally well qualified and possesses the credentials, experience, knowledge, and judgment that this eminent position requires, as well as strong support from a broad range of colleagues in the legal community," he said.
"The enthusiastic bipartisan support he has received reflects his effective work for both Democratic and Republican administrations and numerous well respected judges," he added.
Congresswoman Grace Meng applauded the confirmation of Srinivasan. "What better time for this to happen than during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month... I'm thrilled that he has now been confirmed. I am honored to share this historic day with the Indian-American community and all Asian Americans and I have no doubt that he'll make an outstanding judge."
Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera said he is thrilled at the unanimous confirmation of Srinivasan.