Neomi Rao is President Trump’s extraordinarily well-qualified nominee to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. I agree with Jeremy Carl that “if you were to design a perfect judge for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in a laboratory, that judge would look like Neomi Rao.”
Why? Because the D.C. Circuit is the leading court in which administrative law decisions are made, with exclusive jurisdiction over many federal regulatory agencies. And Rao is a leading expert on administrative law and the federal regulatory scheme.
Currently, she serves as head of the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), from which she spearheads the Trump administration’s approach to regulatory policy. Previously, she founded the Center for the Study for the Administrative State at George Mason.
Rao apparently is extraordinarily decent and respectful of differing points of view. So decent and respectful that, according to Carl who attended Yale with Rao as an undergraduate, a letter in support of her nomination among classmates was circulated “by a confirmed Trump-hater who has given to the Democrats in six figures, and was also signed by many other students who may not share Neomi’s political views, but appreciate her fundamental decency and integrity.”
None of this matters to Senate Democrats, of course. In Rao, they see not an expert in administrative law with a stellar temperament, but rather a 45 year-old conservative Asian-America whom they don’t want on the fast track to the Supreme Court.
Rao came under aggressive questioning today during her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. That’s fine. No nominee should get a free pass.
Rao gave as good as she got. In the case of Sen. Cory Booker, she gave better without even trying.
Here is an exchange between the two:
BOOKER: Are gay relationships, in your opinion, immoral?
RAO: Um, senator, I’m not sure the relevance of that.
BOOKER: I think it is relevant to your opinion. [Note: Huh?] Do you think African American relationships are immoral? [Note: Huh?] Do you think gay relationships are immoral?
RAO: No. I do not.
BOOKER: You do not. Do you believe they are a sin?
RAO: Senator, my personal views on any of these subjects are things I would put to one side, and I would faithfully follow precedent–
BOOKER: So you’re not willing to say here whether you believe it is sinful for two men to be married — you’re not willing to comment on that?
RAO: I’m sorry.
BOOKER: What, I didn’t hear your response.
RAO: My response is that these personal views are ones that I would put to one side. Whatever my personal views are on the subject, I would faithfully follow the precedent of the Supreme Court.
BOOKER: Have you ever had an LGBTQ law clerk?
RAO: I have not been a judge so I don’t have any law clerks
BOOKER: I’m sorry, someone working for you?
RAO: Um, to be honest, I don’t know the sexual orientation of my staff. I take people as they come, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation.
That was the American ideal until Democrats succumbed to identity politics.
Spartacus didn’t lay a glove on Rao. He did lay a few on himself.
You can watch the exchange below: