Reuters/Art Lien/HandoutDuring the Supreme Court's gay marriage arguments in March, a Justice Department lawyer named Sri Srinivasan urged the justices to kill the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act.
The Senate this week will consider Srnivasan's nomination to the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., arguably the most important appeals court in America. That hearing will be a "dress rehearsal" for Srnivasan's eventual nomination to the Supreme Court, The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin argues today.
President Obama will almost certainly get to pick the next justice, as 80-year-old cancer survivor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal, will likely retire before his term is up. (If she stays on the court, she would run the risk of being replaced by a Republican president.)
The D.C. Circuit, which is important because it directly hears any challenges to federal agency rules, is considered to be a gateway to the Supreme Court. It's likely Obama is pushing Srnivasan's nomination through because he wants him to get to the high court, Toobin writes.
Srnivasan, the Justice Department's principal deputy solicitor general, is an appealing candidate for the high court. He has a lot of Supreme Court experience and a moderate background. He has argued 20 cases before the high court and clerked for now-retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Some high court watchers might think Obama would choose a woman to replace Ginsburg, specifically predicting that California Attorney General Kamala Harris might be his choice. (Obama might want to avoid picking her though after a public outcry over his comments on her good looks.)
While picking Srnivasan would leave one fewer woman on the high court, he'd still be a "history-making choice," Toobin points out. Srnivasan would be the high court's first-ever Indian-American justice.
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