By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
UPDATE 2 & 3 (with additional AAPI reaction):
Asian American community and political leaders expressed disappointment that an Asian American was not nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court while expressing support for the nominee.
Sri Srinivasan of the DC Circuit Court was considered by many media analysts as one of two finalists for the nomination.
Instead the nomination went to the chief judge of the Washington, D.C. appeals court, Merrick Garland.
“While we are disappointed that President Obama did not nominate an Asian American today, we stand behind his nominee and are confident that when future Supreme Court vacancies occur, Asian Americans will continue to receive this highest level of consideration and that there will soon be an Asian American Supreme Court Justice,” said the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.
“For the first time in American history the President interviewed an Asian American for the U.S. Supreme Court. While we are disappointed that an AAPI was not selected, we are pleased that President Obama strongly considered Judge Sri Srinivasan,” the AAPI Victory Fund, a super pac committed to mobilizing AAPI voters, said in a statement. “The AAPI community wants a seat at the table in every venue and truly believes the bench of qualified AAPI candidates deserve consideration for the very next vacancy.”
Garland oversaw the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber case while serving as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General. He was confirmed to the DC court in 1997 with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The Republican leaders in the senate have vowed not to bring him up for even a confirmation hearing, saying the American people should decide the next president and let that person make the nomination.
“Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said from the Senate floor this morning.
But President Obama called on the Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty and not let politics get in the way. If they don’t, the President said, the senate would show the nation that the nomination process is “beyond repair.”
Several Asian American leaders echoed that sentiment today.
“While Senate Republicans have a history of judicial obstruction—there are currently 77 vacancies for federal judgeships compared to 43 when the Republicans regained control of the Senate—it is out of line for Republicans to drag the Supreme Court into partisan politics,” said the Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund.
“It is time for us to put away politics and do our jobs,” said Rep Mike Honda. (D-CA) “Americans should accept no less.”
“Refusing to even meet with a nominee, as Senate Republicans are doing, is an unprecedented level of partisan dysfunction,” said Rep Judy Chu, the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
“With important cases on critical issues like the President’s authority to set deportation priorities, access to abortion, and climate change still to be decided, we cannot afford to leave a seat vacant for another year.”
“It is now incumbent on us – the American people – to urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold their hearings and cast their votes on the nomination of Judge Garland,” said Mee Moua, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice/AAJC. “We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to exercise its constitutional responsibilities with due diligence and act upon Judge Garland’s nomination.”
“Today, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community must come together and work to ensure the Senate holds a fair hearing and a timely vote on the President’s nominee,” said the AAPI Victory Fund. “Obstructionist Senators must be held accountable for their actions. The Asian American and Pacific Islander community needs to be more of a political force moving forward, and the AAPI Victory Fund will continue to mobilize its presidential elections outreach in 6 states — Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia — to empower the more than 18 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in this country.”
Judge Merrick Garland entered the Rose Garden with President Obama who’s about to announce his nomination to U.S. Supreme Court.
President: “Recognized as one of sharpest legal mines…brings even handedness and excellence that has earned him respect from both sides of aisle. Today I am nominating Merrick Garland to join the Supreme Court.”
President Obama is now talking about Judge Garland’s work as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General in the prosecution of suspect in Oklahoma City bombing.
President Obama cites bipartisan praise for Judge Garland’s nomination to DC Circuit Court in 1997: “earned overhwhelming bipartisan praise”
President Obama cites Garland’s position “that all views deserve a hearing… Understanding before disagreeing.”
ABC News is reporting that DC Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland will be President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The network quoted unnamed Supreme Court sources.
He would have been the first Asian American ever nominated to the court.
Whoever is nominated will face a tough hurdle. The Republican Senate majority has vowed not to bring the nomination to a hearing. Instead it wants the American voters to select the next president first and decide the nomination.
Many Asian American groups have called on Republicans to follow the constitution and allow the current sitting president to fulfill his duty.
AsAmNews is an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. You can show your support by liking our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/asamnews, following us on Twitter and sharing our stories.)