Senate Judiciary Committee Vote to Approve Neomi Rao for the DC Circuit A Defeat for Women, Civil Rights

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Senate Judiciary Committee Vote to Approve Neomi Rao for the DC Circuit A Defeat for Women, Civil Rights

February 28, 2019, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) expressed strong dismay that the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Neomi Rao to the seat on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit formerly held by Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court justice. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:

“Neomi Rao holds views on sexual assault and other civil rights matters that limit the ability of individuals to receive justice through the legal system. While some of her most egregious writings date back to her undergraduate years, the letter she wrote last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee after her hearing attempting to amend some of them is hardly reassuring, especially in the context of her current job in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) rolling back important protections on behalf of the White House..

“In her letter, Rao advocates ‘an environment where survivors feel empowered and comfortable coming forward.’ Yet as a regulatory official, she approved policy reversals proposed by the US Department of Education (DOE) that weakened protections for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses, even barring schools from responding to many sexual harassment and assault complaints. She endorsed ways of calculating the costs and benefits of proposed rules that excluded the costs of sexual assault and harassment to survivors and counted only the costs of investigations required of educational institutions and the money saved by schools if they did fewer harassment investigations.

“In college, Rao was a scathing critic of multiculturalism, arguing that ‘myths of sexual and racial oppression… create hysteria and finally lead to the formation of some whining new group.’ At her recent Judiciary Committee hearing, she dismissed these sentiments as ‘youthful idealism.’ Yet she refused even to say whether she believed the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education was correct.

“Similarly she wrote a law review article in 2011 disparaging Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the right of women to choose abortion. Now she will only say that she will respect Casey and Roe as established precedent, the stance taken by many Trump nominees who later overturn landmark rulings of the past.

“The committee should not have sent Rao’s deeply flawed nomination to the floor for a confirmation vote. The totality of her record, not just then, but now, disqualifies her for a seat on the second-most important court in the country — a job for which, by the way, she has no judicial experience. The National Council of Jewish Women calls on the full Senate to reject Neomi Rao’s appointment to a lifetime appointment to the DC Circuit Court.”

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW.



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