Since Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice on Oct. 6, 2018, everyone has been wondering who would fill his seat at the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. Well, the decision has officially been made, and it's a controversial one. So, who is Neomi Rao? Some concerns have been raised about her confirmation.
On Wednesday, March 13, Neomi Rao, Donald Trump's chief regulatory official was confirmed by the Senate to replace Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh on the Circuit Court of Appeals, with 53 votes in favor and 46 against. According to The Hill, no Democrats voted to confirm Rao. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Rao will be the first South Asian American to sit on the court, per Vox.
Prior to her confirmation on the court, Rao served as the administrator of the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, within the Office of Management and Budget. As administrator, Rao was involved in the administration's push to overhaul regulatory rules.
However, it's her previous writings on sexual assault that have had many concerned. As a college student in 1994, Rao wrote an opinion piece for The Yale Herald where she stated that if a woman is sexually assaulted while drunk, the woman is partially to blame. However, during her confirmation in front of the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 5, Rao said that her views have changed and that she's "matured" as a thinker.
"Sexual assault in all forms, including date rape, is abhorrent. Responsibility for the rape is with the rapist. I believed that as a college student and continue to believe that today," she wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of her hearing, per CNN. "I am sorry for anything in my college writings to the contrary."
Despite her current administrative role, Rao is no stranger to the courtroom. According to Bloomberg Law, Rao was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a judge who was accused of allegedly sexually assaulting attorney Anita Hill in 1991. Supreme Court Justice Thomas denied Hill's allegations, calling them a "high-tech lynching" at the time. Representatives of Thomas did not respond to Elite Daily's previous requests for additional comment on the subject. Rao is also a tenured professor at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University and once served as assistant White House counsel during the George W. Bush administration.
Right before her confirmation vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the floor and shared that he believes Rao is a suitable candidate for the position.
"In testimony before our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, she demonstrated a commitment to maintaining the public trust, and upholding the rule of law," McConnell said.
McConnell went on to praise President Donald Trump for picking Rao. While Democrats openly opposed Rao as Kavanaugh's replacement, a few Republicans expressed their concerns as well. Republican Senators Josh Hawley, Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, and Tim Scott all reportedly raised question as to whether Rao would be the best fit for the position, but ultimately decided to support her on the Senate floor.
Another day, another controversial political move. At this point, it feels like we can't go an entire day without hearing about some problematic move by the Trump administration, whether it's a new policy or a pick for a federal judge.
Well, no matter how you feel about Rao's confirmation, let's hope that she takes as much as she knows and has learned and puts it toward good use in the future. It's never too late to start over.