UPDATE (03/13/19): On Wednesday, March 13th the Senate confirmed Naomi Rao for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals with a 53-46 vote.
UPDATE (02/28/19): The Senate Judiciary Committee is has voted to forward the Rao nomination in a 12-10 vote on party lines. Her nomination will now be considered by the full Senate.
Neomi Rao, an anti-regulation attorney with no judicial experience, has been re-nominated to fill Brett Kavanaugh’s vacated DC Circuit Court of Appeals seat. This court reviews the legality of DC-based federal agencies’ decisions and policies. As the current director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Rao has eroded the exact federal regulations she’d review as a Circuit Court judge. Under Rao, OIRA blocked new guidance on handling workplace sexual assault and approved a rule change restricting the definition of sexual assault on college campuses. OIRA approved rolling back protections against racist housing discrimination and terminating the Clean Power Plan. The office is also finalizing a policy allowing healthcare providers to deny care to LGBTQ+ patients. Despite the conflict of interest between Rao’s current position and her potential judicial role, she has not promised to recuse herself from cases involving agency rules that she reviewed at OIRA.
Rao has a long history of attacking human rights, from her defense of the ableist practice of “dwarf-tossing” to college writings that blamed sexual assault survivors for being attacked and dismissed racial issues in America as a “hot, money-making issue”. Her anti-regulatory views and troubling disregard for basic human dignity disqualify her from sitting on one of our nation’s most important courts.