Jessica M. Karmasek Apr. 4, 2013, 7:30pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- A group of former U.S. Supreme Court law clerks have come out in support of U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit nominee Sri Srinivasan.

The former law clerks, who worked alongside Srinivasan at the nation's high court during the 1997-98 term, sent a letter to U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley Thursday. Leahy, D-Vermont, is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley, R-Iowa, is the ranking member.

The clerks -- a group of 28 -- described Srinivasan has having an "exceptionally strong" legal acumen, "keen" intellect, "excellent" character and "unflappable" good humor.

"Sri personifies the values of professional excellence and personal character that the United States expects to see in its judges," they wrote.

"We have no doubt that, should he be confirmed, Sri would epitomize the highest ideals of judicial demeanor and collegiality, and we support his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit without reservation."

The judiciary committee has set an April 10 confirmation hearing for Srinivasan, who serves as the principle deputy solicitor general.

President Barack Obama nominated him the first time last year and re-nominated him in January.

Republicans have said they want to know more about Srinivasan's role in a Fair Housing Act settlement from last year and have delayed the hearing to get more information from the Department of Justice about the settlement.

The 11-member D.C. Circuit currently has four openings.

Last month, Caitlin Halligan took her name out of consideration after Republicans blocked her nomination again and again for more than two years.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday mentioned Srinivasan's hearing.

"The D.C. Circuit, as you know, is often considered the nation's second-highest court, but it has twice as many vacancies as any other court of appeals, and its workload has increased by over 20 percent since 2005," Carney said.

"Sri's confirmation will be an important first step to filling this court's four vacancies, and he will be, when confirmed, the first South Asian circuit court judge in history."

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