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What Can America Expect from New D.C. Circuit Court Judge Neomi Rao?

Reason takes a look.

|||Leigh Vogel/UPI/NewscomLeigh Vogel/UPI/NewscomThe Senate confirmed Neomi Rao to the D.C. Circuit Court on Wednesday. Rao—a law professor, former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and founder of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University—will now fill the seat vacated by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

What can Americans expect to see from Judge Rao? Reason has followed her impact on the regulatory scene.

Months into Donald Trump's presidency, the Senate confirmed Rao as administrator of the Office for Regulatory Affairs. Prior to becoming regulatory czar, Rao had long criticized excessive power in the executive branch's regulatory agencies.

Just a few months after her confirmation, the administration announced that it was removing an Obama-era rule that required companies to report pay based on gender, race, and ethnicity. Rao said the rule wasn't effective at gathering "information about wage and employment discrimination."

Rao received attention for a different kind of regulatory argument. She once warned that a ban against dwarf tossing, an activity involving a little person being thrown with his or her consent in exchange for money, set a poor precedent for its vague rules based on "dignity." In a 2011 post for The Volokh Conspiracy, Rao cited Manuel Wackenheim, a French little person who made a living off the practice and opposed such bans. "Respect for intrinsic human dignity," Rao wrote, "would favor individual choice." We revisited Rao's argument earlier this year when a similar prohibition was proposed in Washington state.

When an anonymous member of the Trump administration released a dramatic oped about "resisting" Trump within the White House, Rao's name was briefly floated in speculations about the author.

Rao's latest confirmation was not without controversy, or at least an attempt to cull controversy. Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) confronted Rao on February over whether or not she's ever employed an LGBT clerk. The biggest problem with this line of questioning is Rao has never been in a position to hire clerks, since she's never been a judge before. Despite the attempt to grandstand at her expense, Rao replied that she took people "as they come, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation."

A 2014 discussion between Rao and Reason's Damon Root is embedded below:

Photo Credit: Leigh Vogel/UPI/Newscom

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  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) confronted Rao on February over whether or not she's ever employed an LGBT clerk. The biggest problem with this line of questioning is Rao has never been in a position to hire clerks, since she's never been a judge before.

    Ugh, of course conservatives pounced on that as if it made Booker look stupid. But as an LGBT person (non-binary) I sincerely appreciated that question.

  • Brandybuck||

    Are we supposed to ask applicants who they sleep with? Really?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Apparently. Although I suspect "pics or it didn't happen" would probably still be considered harassment.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    It absolutely did make Booker look stupid for two reasons.

    1. You apparently missed the part where the nominee has never been in a position to hire clerks before.

    2. It is illegal for a perspective employer to ask a job applicant those kinds of questions.

  • Tony||

    Speaking of Cory Booker looking stupid, can someone explain the logic behind his "I am Spartacus" moment?

    The whole point of saying you're Spartacus is to not be Spartacus. I don't get it.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I've wondered the same so I finally looked it up:

    "He was referring to the 1960 movie "Spartacus," about a failed slave revolt led by the title character (Kirk Douglas) against the Roman Republic. When the rulers warned that all the slaves would be crucified unless Spartacus identified himself, he stood up.Sep 7, 2018"

    Still, how this applies to Booker, as if he were sacrificing himself, I don't get. Maybe he somehow knew he just might make himself look stupid.

  • Obama ate a dog||

    That synopsis is both missing many details and not accurate. Looking it up didn't get you the answer.

    In the scene, which was supposed to be historically accurate according to legend, they ALL stood up and identified themselves as Spartacus. It doesn't make Booker's actions make any more sense though.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    You do realize that OpenBordersLiberal-tarian (OBL for short) is a long running parody account and not to be taken seriously, right?

    Although it is getting harder and harder by the day to tell parody from real life.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "Although it is getting harder and harder by the day to tell parody from real life."

    Poe Horizon; life is The Onion now

  • RoyMo||

    This just shows that OBL needs to step up xer game

  • tommyguns2||

    Why do you appreciate this question? If she ever had clerks and she had LGBT people, would that make her a more qualified judge or a less qualified judge?

  • Zeb||

    It's not a real person and it doesn't really appreciate the question.

  • Obama ate a dog||

    It's not even a good parody.

  • Joe M||

    Cool, one step closer to getting another decent justice on the SCOTUS.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Rao—a law professor, former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas,

    Wait! I thought Thomas was a predatory sexual assaulter.

    The Lefties have been hating on Uncle Thomas for decades and now we find out he has women clerk for him without any sexual incidents?

  • Anomalous||

    The progtards will say that she wasn't his type.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    And they'll do it by not so subtly implying that she's fugly. Because it's OK when they criticize womyn for their looks.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    The Socialists and their Media Enablers are up against it this time.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its a process.

  • Brandybuck||

    Why would a judge even know if a someone seeking a clerkship was gay or not? What kind of world does Cory Booker live in where he imagines LGBT people routinely put their LGBT-ness on their CVs?

    I can see racial phenotypes and I can see sex, and so a question about hiring a Black woman or something is answerable. But as someone who has interviewed many people and provided input into the hiring process, I have zero clue if someone is gay, or lesbian, or bisexual.

    Out in the private sector it's actually against the law to ask such questions of an applicant. But not in Cory Booker's world. In his world it's mandatory to ask.

  • Sevo||

    Geeze, some people don't get the memo. They wear pink triangles.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Pink Triangle on her sleeve, let me know the truth.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If I recall, according to Tony, she would know after-the-fact, not necessarily during the hiring process.

  • Jerryskids||

    You haven't been keeping up with the times if you believe that old racist nonsense about judging people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. The color of your skin (your sex/sexual orientation/gender identity/whatever) is *all* that matters. You'd better know how many of each identity group you've got to make sure you've got the proper proportions of each one or you're in big trouble. Diversity, inclusivity and equality are the holy trifecta you must worship. Except for the straight white males who are Literally Hitler.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    What, you've never heard of gaydar?

    Actually I suspect in Booker's fevered imagination all gay people look and act like the kinds of stereotypes that are now considered offensive. IOW, all gay men are over the top flamers and all lesbians are butch bull dykes in Booker World.

  • Rockabilly||

    "Why would a judge even know if a someone seeking a clerkship was gay or not?"

    The judge would use gaydar

    http://vistriai.com/gaydartest/

  • RoyMo||

    "As a gay non binary trans woman I am applying for this clerkship..." Personally the non Libertarian part of me wants to outlaw this sort of dehumanizing self outing as a crime against human dignity, but then the part of me that isn't a sociopath takes over and reminds me that it is every midgets right to decide if he or she should be hurled across a room by a drunken idiot.

  • Brandybuck||

    > As a gay non binary trans woman

    Ah, so you are someone who was born a woman who prefers to have sex with men. Got it.

  • Sevo||

    "...Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) confronted Rao on February over whether or not she's ever employed an LGBT clerk. The biggest problem with this line of questioning is Rao has never been in a position to hire clerks, since she's never been a judge before..."

    OK, but if she went to Guam, would it capsize?

  • chipper me timbers||

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Our "leaders," ladies and gentlemen.

    Actually, give him a round of applause for somehow managing to get himself dressed and to the capital building* where he could display his intelligence for all the world to see.

    *Who am I kidding, he probably has people do all that for him.

  • Billy Bones||

    "Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) confronted Rao on February over whether or not she's ever employed an LGBT clerk."

    Correct answer: "What my employees do in the privacy of their bedrooms is not my business, therefore I cannot answer that question. And if you can answer that question, I must ask whether you are a pervert or just a busy-body who wants to know everyone's business."

  • tommyguns2||

    She's the perfect person for being on the DC Circuit. Clear up some of this mess that is today's administrative law.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Liberals pushing back on appointing a female person of color to the bench?

    Are they for female of color, or just the ones they approve?

  • esteve7||

    You already know the answer to that question. You may think the left hates straight white men the most, but it's the scabs from the intersectional mentality instead.

  • SIV||

    Woooo!

    Let's all go throw midgets!

  • SIV||

    Woooo!

    Let's all go throw midgets!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Wee Man approves this message!

  • Sevo||

    OT.
    How about some violins for AOC?

    "I Felt Like I Was Being Physically Ripped Apart": Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Opens Up About Her New Fame, Trump, and Life in the Bubble
    The pressure is intense. But beneath the caricatures, she says, "I'm not a superhero. I'm not a villain."
    http://www.vanityfair.com/news.....-interview

    Yes, you are a villain. And an idiot.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'd agree with the second half of that statement. A villain would know and understand they're doing damage. I don't think she has any clue.

  • mamabug||

    But a true super-villain does horrible things out of what they think are morally good reasons. AOC is only a few gems shy of being Thanos.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    A villain would know and understand they're doing damage.

    I don't think that's true at all. In fact, the worst villains are the ones who think they're bringing moral salvation.

  • RoyMo||

    I think we are selling AOC short here, why isn't is possible that she knows exactly what she is doing? Do we refrain from declaring her a skinny version of Hermann Goering for any reason other than sexism and her lack of piloting ability and 22 confirmed kills?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Nah. Goering was just in it for the money. My thought is that someone like Himmler would be a better comparison to Nieman Marxist. In both cases you're talking about true believers who willing to inflict misery on others because they think it will usher in their particular utopia.

  • Obama ate a dog||

    "A villain would know and understand they're doing damage"

    Huh? No. Just as many villains think they're saving something.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Despite the attempt to grandstand at her expense, Rao replied that she took people "as they come, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation."

    Which is racist, 'cause "colorblindness".

  • Jerryskids||

    What Can America Expect from New D.C. Circuit Court Judge Neomi Rao?

    As with all conservative-appointed judges, the main thing to expect is surprises and disappointments.

    The two main things to expect are surprises, disappointments and a sense of betrayal.

    The *three* main things to expect are surprises, disappointments, a sense of betrayal and "growing in office".

    I'll come in again.

  • Just Say'n||

    Also, cowardice.

  • Jgalt1975||

    Rao's latest confirmation was not without controversy, or at least an attempt to cull controversy.

    Was that supposed to be "cultivate controversy"? Because I don't see how Booker's question would reduce or cut back on controversy.

  • awildseaking||

    I wonder why Booker thinks everyone else can notice homosexuality so easily. Maybe he's a bit insecure?

  • RoyMo||

    It is a cry for help.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump 100- Lefties 0

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