The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for an open spot on U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. The nominee is Srikanth Srinivasan, whose current job is Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States. The hearing is a big one for both Obama and Srinivasan, because as Jeffery Toobin pointed out in a breakdown of Srinivasan's record, this is basically his audition to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the next Associate Justice at the highest tribunal in the land.
But there's more at stake than just one man's possible promotion. Barack Obama's entire judicial legacy could hinge on the outcome of Srinivasan's appointment or denial. Four of the current sitting Justices at one time sat on the D.C. Circuit, but that court currently has four vacancies. The President hasn't even nominated anyone else to fill them, because Republicans in the Senate have blocked every one he's tried to put up so far. The last one withdrew her name, because the Senate wouldn't even grant her a vote.
It's a virtual certainty that President Obama will get a least one more chance to put a justice on the Supreme Court, as the 80-year-old Ginsburg is unlikely to stick around until 2016. Barring a surprise, she might be the only one to step down in next four years, and the President needs to make his next pick count.