Why Activists and South Asian Women Oppose Neomi Rao’s Nomination

In the News

Published in Wear Your Voice

On Tuesday, a group of South Asian women representing 65 desi women lawyers, law professors, and survivor advocates stood up in silent protest during attorney Neomi Rao’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Trump’s pick to fill Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s former seat on the U.S. court of appeals for the D.C. circuit wrote articles as an undergrad at Yale in which she victim-blamed survivors of sexual assault.

“If she drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was a part of her choice,” Rao wrote in one piece. The women protesting Rao’s nomination penned a powerful letter addressing the Senate Judiciary Committee and helped shed light on her record stating that, “As the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Rao is the Trump Administration’s point person to deregulate public protections that benefit all Americans. Rao’s policy decisions have led to the rollbacks of public protections relied upon by vulnerable communities including women, survivors of sexual violence, and LGBTQ people.”

“First, it’s important to understand that the DC Circuit Court is the second most powerful court in the country, second to the Supreme Court. More SCOTUS justices have come from the DC Circuit than any other appellate court,” explains civil rights lawyer, Senior Fellow at Race Forward, author of We Too Sing America and podcaster Deepa Iyer, “If confirmed, Rao will be weighing in on cases that have to do with policies that federal agencies implement. In her current role as head of a federal office that reviews and implements federal agency regulations, Rao has rolled back a range of public protections dealing with the environment and equal pay.”

During the hearing, Rao skirted questions about her stance on equality between men and women which she referred to in her writings as a “dangerous feminist ideal.” Iyer tells Wear Your Voice that Rao’s views on sexual assault, race, LGBTQ rights, affirmative action, and disability rights are nothing short of alarming.