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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

President Obama hails appointment of first Indian to US Appeals Court

President Barack Obama has joined politicians and decision-makers in Washington in hailing the appointment of Srikanth 'Sri' Srinivasan's to the US Appeals Court, the first South Asian to sit on the powerful judicial bench.

Obama described Chandigarh-born Srinivasan, 46, as a "trailblazer" who "personified the best of America", adding that Srinivasan would serve the US "with distinction".

Srinivasan's nomination to the second most powerful court in the nation was approved unanimously by the US Senate on Friday and has been earmarked for 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.

Born Padmanabhan Srikanth Srinivasan in Chandigargh, the legal luminary grew up in rural Lawrence, Kansas where his South Indian-origin parents had moved to in the late 1960's. 

His father was a professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas, and his mother taught at the Kansas city art Institute and later worked at the Computer science department, University of Kansas.

A law graduate from Stanford University, Srinivasan worked as a law clerk for several distinguished Appeals Court and Supreme Court judges, including Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to be appointed to the US Supreme Court.

Dr Ami Bera, the sole Indian-American Congressman, said he was thrilled with Srinivasan's confirmation. 

"He will be an outstanding, fair-minded judge. This is a historic moment for all Indian Americans and Asian Americans", Bera said.

"Indian Americans have contributed to this country in many important ways, and we need to see more members of our community involved at all levels of government", he added said.

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