The United States Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing for Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, on February 5, 2019. Trump nominated Rao to the seat, which was vacated by Brett Kavanaugh following his confirmation to the United States Supreme Court, on November 13, 2018.
Prior to the hearing, Rao received a well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association (ABA).
Committee members questioned Rao on a variety of topics, including articles she wrote as an undergraduate student concerning sexual assault and feminism as well as her recent work as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), a position she has held since July 2017.
As OIRA administrator, Rao has directed the Trump administration’s regulatory review process, clearance and approval of government information collection requests, and oversight of government statistical practices and privacy policies. Since the DC Circuit hears the majority of judicial challenges to administrative actions, Rao stated that she would consider recusing herself from cases concerning regulations issued under the Trump administration on a case-by-case basis when required by court precedent or statutory standards.
Prior to joining the Trump administration, Rao worked as an associate professor of law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, where she founded the Center for the Study of the Administrative State. She also served as counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary under U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R), as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and as a special assistant and associate counsel to former President George W. Bush (R).