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India born judge in race to be US Supreme Court Judge

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Having helped 1.7 million people around the world gain mobility with the famous Jaipur Foot, the organisation is now embarking on a mission to develop an affordable artificial hand, its founder D.R. Mehta has said.
Jaipur Foot has already helped many to get mobility. Wikimedia commons

Washington: Chandigarh-born Indian-American judge has risen the ranks in the race of succession to be the new US Supreme Court justice. The sudden death of a US Supreme Court judge has put him at the top of the contention in the year of political battles.

Srikanth Srinivasan, 48, who became a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – a traditional launching pad for Supreme Court nominees – in May 2013 after a 97-0 Senate vote was on the short-list of many in the media.

Speculation over whom President Barack Obama would nominate to replace Antonin Scalia started hours after the conservative judge’s death Saturday morning in Texas even as top Republicans said the choice should be left to the next president.

Obama said Saturday he would nominate a successor “in due time,” and the Senate will get “plenty of time to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote” even as Senate Republican leaders and presidential candidates were dead set against the move.

Any list of potential replacements begins with Srinivasan, said CNN noting that Obama would likely try to find someone that at least some Republicans in Congress might find acceptable given that the opposition party controls both chambers.

Obama first nominated him to the post in 2012, and the Senate confirmed him,

97-0, in May 2013, including votes in support from Republican presidential contenders Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Srinivasan’s father hailed from Mela Thiruvenkatanathapuram, a village near Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. His family, including two younger sisters, migrated in the late 1960s to Lawrence, Kansas.

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 University of Kansas computer science department.

Srinivasan was a high school basketball star in Kansas before attending Stanford University, which he graduated from in 1989.

He was Obama’s principal deputy solicitor general, most notably working on the successful fight against the Defence of Marriage Act.

Srinivasan also has experience on the other side of the aisle, serving as an assistant to the solicitor general during the George W. Bush administration and as a clerk to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He was once a partner in the law firm O’Melveny & Myers.

Meanwhile, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted the next administration should make the appointment.

But Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said “failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”

The succession battle comes at a time when the Court is expected to hear several cases with huge political implications, including on abortion and affirmative action.(IANS)

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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Why U.S. Women’s Soccer Dominates on World Stage while Men’s Game Continues to Falter

The U.S. men haven’t come close to the women’s success

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Mexico's Rodolfo Pizarro, right, controls the ball against U.S. forward Paul Arriola during the Gold Cup final in Chicago, July 7, 2019. Mexico won 1-0. VOA

In the 28 years since winning the very first Women’s World Cup, the U.S. women’s soccer team has dominated the game on the global stage, taking home four Women’s World Cups in all, including the 2019 title captured this month in a 2-0 victory over The Netherlands.

The U.S. men haven’t come close to the women’s success. Not only have the men never won a World Cup, they even failed to qualify for the most recent men’s World Cup in 2018.

To deduce why U.S. women’s soccer dominates on the world stage while the men’s game continues to falter, you might just have to go back to the beginning, to the time when future world-class players — female and male — first start showing athletic promise.

“Soccer was never really been part of the national lexicon. It’s always been kind of this underground, kind of foreign game,” says Eileen Narcotta-Welp, an assistant professor of sport management at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “Not only has it been a foreign game, but it’s been seen as a less masculine state. So if a child has to choose, or their parents have to choose, which sport a child is going to go into, ultimately it’s going to be basketball, baseball, [or] football.”

US, Women, Soccer
U.S. player Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the World Cup final match against The Netherlands outside Lyon, France, July 7, 2019. VOA

The world in general views soccer — or “football” as it is called practically everywhere in the world except the United States — as an extremely male-oriented, overtly masculine game. However, in the United States, more traditional U.S. sports like baseball, basketball, and American football are more likely to be viewed as “macho” activities.

So while little American boys were pursuing other sports, a combination of events laid the foundation for the popularity of girls’ soccer in the U.S.

One of them was the 1972 passage of the federal law known as Title IX, which prohibits federally funded educational institutions from discriminating on the basis of sex. The law applies to high school and college athletics.

Many schools quickly embraced soccer for women because they could field up to 35 players per team, a sizable number that helped close the gender gap in their athletic programs.

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Additionally, the success of the U.S. women’s soccer team has captured the imagination of young female athletes-in-the-making. Over time, they’ve watched and admired soccer icons of yester-year, like Brandi Chastain, and current superstars like Meghan Rapinoe, and are inspired to emulate them and their success.

Aside from cultural and societal expectations, there are practical financial considerations that help explain why America’s best female athletes might choose to pursue soccer while top male athletes look to basketball, baseball or football.

“Those are also three sports that you can make a living off of,” Narcotta-Welp points out. “If you are a kid that is extremely talented, extremely athletic, and you are a boy…you know that professionally, if you want to play professional sports and succeed, that they’re pretty much three areas in which you’re gonna be able to succeed.”

US, Women, Soccer
In the 28 years since winning the very first Women’s World Cup, the U.S. women’s soccer team has dominated the game on the global stage, taking home four Women’s World Cups. Pixabay

The most talented female athletes have even less choice. Their opportunities to play professionally and make a living out of it basically come down to soccer or basketball.

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“They’re not getting huge exorbitant salaries, but it is kind of the one pathway for young women to play professionally,” Narcotta-Welp says. “For men, you have so many other options that are much more lucrative and probably more culturally acceptable in terms of the idea of masculinity that it would make sense for them to be steered in one of those three directions versus soccer.” (VOA)