Published on CNN
The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Neomi Rao, a judicial nominee who faced intense opposition over her writings in college, to take now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s vacant seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The vote was 53-46, with all Republicans supporting her nomination and all voting Democrats against confirming Rao.
Rao — who serves as Trump’s “czar” overseeing regulatory rollbacks — faced fierce questioning not just for her work in the Trump administration but for commentary she wrote decades ago as a Yale University student suggesting women should change their behavior to avoid date rape. Even some Republicans expressed reservations about her nomination earlier in the process, and Rao apologized last month for her previous writing.
“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 in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “As a society, we should create an environment where survivors feel empowered and comfortable coming forward. I am sorry for anything in my college writings to the contrary.”
Liberal groups highlighted Rao’s writing in college as an example of why she’s unqualified to serve.
“Neomi Rao is unfit to serve for a lifetime on the federal bench, but Senate Republicans strong-armed members of their own party to confirm her anyway,” said Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron in a statement. “With this vote, they have proven that they will go to outrageous lengths to pack our courts with more of Trump’s abhorrent judicial nominees.”