Contentious nominee kicks off push to fill federal court seats

In the News

Published in Roll Call

Rao currently heads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, part of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House, which plays a key role in the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back regulations. A former clerk of Justice Clarence Thomas, she is on leave as the director and founder of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.

FreedomWorks, a hard-line conservative advocacy group, cheered her pick in November, saying she was someone who could rein in the excesses of the administrative state as she had in the White House.

“Now she has the opportunity to do so from the bench and set precedents that cannot be easily undone by future administrations,” Adam Brandon, the group’s president, said at the time.

Judiciary Democrats have plenty of topics to grill Rao about Tuesday. Democratic advocacy groups such as Alliance For Justice say Rao is a conservative ideologue, pointing to her actions in the administration that include weakening housing discrimination protections based on race, rescinding the Clean Power Plan and restricting protections for sexual assault survivors on college campuses through a proposed rule change.

Rao has also criticized Supreme Court rulings that upheld the 2010 health care overhaul.

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