Sri Srinivasan Supreme Court Obama Scalia
Sri Srinivasan, who has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since May 2013, is expected to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in the Supreme Court, local media reports said. In this photo, Srinivasan is seen in this undated file photo, courtesy of the United States Department of Justice. Reuters/United States Department of Justice Handout

It’s unlikely that he would be approved by the Senate in time to have an impact on the Supreme Court’s coming decision regarding President Barack Obama’s controversial Clean Power Plan, but the potential nomination of Sri Srinivasan to the U.S. Supreme Court is already making some environmentalists nervous, according to Politico.

Before he was a federal appellate judge in Washington, D.C. — and the early favorite to be called on to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — Srinivasan was a powerful defense lawyer who represented the likes of ExxonMobil and mining company Rio Tinto. In a different capacity, he also defended former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling against fraud and conspiracy convictions. Environmental advocates are less than impressed by that resume.

“Any judge that sides with Big Oil over the American people has no place on our Supreme Court,” Jane Kleeb, a Nebraska activist who helped lead opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, told Politico. “Corporate interests have trumped citizens’ concerns for too long.”

Of course, the president would be the one nominating the federal appellate judge to the higher position and, given his apparent desire to be remembered as having a strong climate legacy, might consider the concerns of environmentalists who are speaking out. But, perhaps even more importantly, the likelihood that Srinivasan (or anyone nominated by Obama) gets approved is fairly low, given the current ideological makeup of the United States Senate.

Senate Majority Leader and Republican Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell has already declared that he has no plans to let the Senate consider any Obama nominee in the final 11 months of his presidency and that he thinks that the next president should be in charge of choosing who fills Scalia’s seat.

He can potentially make good on that promise, too. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 54 votes to Democrats’ 46 votes. In order to move forward with a nomination, Democrats would need to convince 14 Republicans to join their side.