Prominent Indian-Americans today hailed the historic nomination of legal eagle Srikanth Sri Srinivasan as a judge to the country's second highest court.
Chandigarh-born Srinivasan's nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was unanimously approved by the Senate with 97 voting in favour.
46-year-old Srinivasan has become the first South Asian to be appointed to the top American court amid speculation that he may one day be tapped for the Supreme Court.
Congressman Ami Bera, the only serving Indian-American lawmaker in the current Congress, said he was thrilled at the unanimous confirmation of Srinivasan by the US Senate.
"I'm thrilled that the Senate confirmed Sri Srinivasan to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals today," said Bera. He had written a letter to the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in this regard on Wednesday.
"He will be an outstanding, fair-minded judge. This is a historic moment for all Indian Americans and Asian Americans, and it's a fitting way to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May," Bera said.
"Sri Srinivasan made history today. As the first South Asian on the U S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Sri will offer a unique perspective and added diversity that is long overdue in our justice system," said Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress.
"Srinivasan has a distinguished and proven record of commitment to public service, and I look forward to his contributions to the bench," Gabbard said.
Applauding Srinivasan's confirmation, Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), an umbrella group of 41 community organisations, said "Sri Srinivasan has the ideal set of experiences and skills for this important position."
Noting that he "will be the first South Asian American federal appellate court judge in the history of the United States," SAALT also commended President Barack Obama for nominating Srinivasan, and the Senate for confirming his nomination.
In a letter to the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday, a group of 21 influential US lawmakers led by Bera, had demanded confirmation of Srinivasan's nomination to the second highest US court.
"Sri Srinivasan would be an outstanding judge for the Court of Appeals. He has worked in the US Solicitor General's office three times – for both Republican and Democratic administrations – and argued 24 cases before the Supreme Court," the Congressmen said in the letter.
"As members of Congress, we value the importance of having diversity on the court. Representation of Indian Americans within our judicial system is overdue," the lawmakers wrote in their letter.