The Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination is next Wednesday. And yet Senate Republicans -- who recently filibustered another Obama nominee to the court -- are mum about their intentions, refraining from criticizing Srinivasan but keeping their options open.
"I look forward to hearing from Mr. Srinivasan when he comes before the Judiciary Committee and plan to have several questions for him," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the committee, said in a statement to TPM. "This would include questions to gauge his judicial temperament, his approach to the Constitution, and his thoughts on the proper role of a judge in our system of checks and balances."
Matt Harakal, a spokesman for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), said "Sen. Hatch looks forward to examining his background and experience on a number of important issues."
For now at least, even the more conservative members of the committee are holding their cards close to their vests. Spokespersons for Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) declined to comment on Srinivasan or his upcoming confirmation hearing.
The broad ideological consensus behind Srinivasan -- which includes conservative legal stars like Paul Clement, Ted Olson and Ken Starr -- makes it harder for Republicans to filibuster Srinivasan, absent some unexpected and unlikely revelation. Another filibuster would deepen the Democratic majority's frustration and potentially risk inciting another filibuster reform battle, which some Democrats are eager to kick off.
Four of 11 active seats on the court are currently vacant, a status quo Obama has called "unacceptable." No nominee has been confirmed since 2006. Democrats filibustered several of President George W. Bush's picks to the D.C. Circuit but allowed four of them to be confirmed. Republicans haven't permitted a single Obama nominee to receive a vote.
"There is simply no legitimate reason to block him from getting an up-or-down vote," the Democratic aide said. "If Republicans want to vote against Srinivasan, they should go right ahead; but they should not block him from getting an up-or-down vote."