Legal Luminary Sri Srinivasan Honored at Embassy Reception

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June 19, 2013

By Geeta Goindi

Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao (right) with Sri Srinivasan, the first Indian-American judge in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, at a reception honoring the legal luminary, held at the Embassy Residence.  Photo credit: Embassy of India, Washington

June 19, 2013

By Geeta Goindi

Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao (right) with Sri Srinivasan, the first Indian-American judge in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, at a reception honoring the legal luminary, held at the Embassy Residence.  Photo credit: Embassy of India, Washington

WASHINGTON – There were accolades galore for Sri Srinivasan, the first Indian-American judge in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit which is the second most powerful court in the US after the Supreme Court, who was felicitated at a reception on Monday, June 17, evening, held at the official residence of Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao. 

The Chandigarh-born, 46-year-old legal luminary was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor earlier in the day, following Senate confirmation by a vote of 97-0, on May 23.

President Obama has called him “a trailblazer who personifies the best of America”.  At the AAPI Heritage Month celebration last month at the White House, he pointed out, “One of my favorite people right now, Sri Srinivasan, who has just been confirmed … I was proud to nominate Sri and he was just confirmed unanimously to become the first South Asian American federal appeals court judge”.

Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao addressing the gathering at a reception held in honor of Sri Srinivasan who has been sworn in, on Monday, as the first Indian-American judge in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.  Photo credit: Embassy of India, Washington

Welcoming Srinivasan at the reception, Ambassador Rao said: “You exemplify the story of hope and aspiration and dreams come true”.  Clearly elated by his appointment, she emphasized, “We know about the Indian-American community and the extraordinary successes and achievements that they exemplify, and to me, Sri personifies that and much more.  Here he is, at a relatively young age, he has achieved such great things”.

The envoy was optimistic about the future and rightly so.  The prestigious US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit is considered a stepping stone to the Supreme Court.  Predicting a bright future for Srinivasan, Ambassador Rao pointed out, “There have been many judges on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit who have gone on to the Supreme Court.  I am sure that before long, we will have the first Indian-American as a Supreme Court judge.  We hope and pray for that”, she said.

Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard (Democrat-Hawaii), the first Hindu lawmaker who took the oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita, with Karishma Popli (left) at a reception in the Embassy Residence

On hand, at the reception to celebrate Srinivasan’s success story, were: Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard (Democrat-Hawaii) and Grace Meng (Democrat – New York); Congressmen Ami Bear (Democrat-California), Mike Honda (Democrat-California) and Michael Grimm (Republican-New York); US Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.; Dr. Rajan Natarajan, Maryland Deputy Secretary of State for Policy and External Affairs; Indian-American community activists and stalwarts; and members of the press and media.

Sri Srinivasan (right), the first Indian-American judge in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, with Dr. Rajan Natarajan, Maryland Deputy Secretary of State for Policy and External Affairs

Srinivasan, regarded as one of the best appellate advocates in the country, will not only make a brilliant judge, he is sure to win many hearts and minds with his endearing humility and affable persona.  He has made Indians proud, the world over!  At the Embassy Residence, with his mother, Mrs. Saroja Srinivasan, and sister, Srinija Srinivasan, by his side, he steered clear of a speech laced with legislative terminology.  On the contrary, he spoke extempore – straight from the heart.  And he floored the audience!

Srinivasan told the gathering, “I know this occasion is meant to commemorate my confirmation, but it is due to so many of you who are here today.  I would like, on behalf of our family, to express our gratitude to all of you for the instrumental roles you played in this process”, he said.  “All of you were essential and I am incredibly humbled and honored by my confirmation and by the tremendous support that all of you have given to me and my family”.

The legal luminary underscored, “Of particular salience today, is the support of the Indian-American and South Asian communities”.  He was candid in admitting, “It is not something that I appreciated at the outset of this process.  It’s something that I grew to appreciate a great deal more as the process moved on.  And it is something that is so meaningful to us as immigrants from India”, he said.

Sri Srinivasan, the first Indian-American judge in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, addressing the gathering at a reception held in his honor at the Embassy Residence.  Photo credit: Embassy of India, Washington

Ambassador Rao, Delhi’s numero uno diplomat in Washington, never tires of lauding the Indian-American community and Monday evening was no exception.  She told the gathering, “When you look at the relationship between India and the US today, the role that the Indian-American community has played in promoting the understanding of India more in the United States, is indisputable”.

The envoy stressed, “This is a strategic partnership.  It is a partnership about the people of both countries.  And it is a partnership of peace and progress and prosperity”.

She told the gathering that she has been coming to the US since the early eighties and has witnessed the transformation in bilateral ties.  “I’ve seen the way America and Americans now relate to India and how the image of India has been transformed”, she said.  “It has a lot to do with what the Indian-American community has achieved.  Americans in every distant corner of this nation have Indian-American neighbors and see the role that they play in their communities, how they exemplify family values and are able to balance the perfect equilibrium of tradition and modernity.  I think they are perfectly well adjusted in both these environments.  I think that is the strength of Indian culture, Indian tradition and the Indian identity”.

Quoting her friend Achamma Chandrasekaran, a well known political activist who said, “What America offers to everybody is the freedom to be and the opportunity to become”, Ambassador Rao pointed out, “That is really what the American dream is about”.

For Srinivasan, the celebrations have been bitter-sweet.  This past weekend, his father, Professor T.P. Srinivasan who had been ailing for a while, breathed his last.  Getting up close and personal with the audience at the reception, Srinivasan noted that Sunday was Father’s Day.  “It was a poignant day for us – the first Father’s Day we have had without my Dad”, he said.  “He was a great man.  He had the quintessential immigrant experience.  His ambitions were our ambitions.  His dreams were our dreams.  I think that they were fully realized”.

At a reception in honor of Sri Srinivasan, the first Indian-American judge in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, at the Embassy Residence, are seen (from left to right): Sri Srinivasan; Mrs. Saroja Srinivasan; Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao; and Srinija Srinivasan.  Photo credit: Embassy of India, Washington

Srinivasan disclosed that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his father were long-time friends and colleagues, going back to the days when they served on the faculty at Punjab University in Chandigarh.  “They forged a close collaboration”, he said.  “They stayed in close touch through the ensuing years and decades”.

Srinivasan recounted that Prime Minister Singh called to congratulate his parents on his confirmation.  “The last phone call that my Dad received was from the Prime Minister and his wife”, he said.  At that point, he couldn’t speak, but he could listen …. and he communicated how meaningful that was to him”.

Regarding the confirmation, his father wanted to know how he did it, to which Srinivasan told the gathering, “I didn’t do it.  The President did it.  The Senate did it and you all did it.  You all made this possible”.  And he credited his father.  “He did it because the opportunity that he gave us when he brought us to this country, because of the example that he set and because of the values he instilled in us, he did it.  It’s his example that is shining through”, he told the audience.  “Thank you all for being here and honoring his legacy”.


Community Special by MYDOSTI.COM

Community Special by MYDOSTI.COM

Community Special by MYDOSTI.COM

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