At the White Home’s Diwali celebrations, US President Donald Trump introduced that an Indian-American, Neomi Rao, would be his nomination to replace Judge Kavanaugh in his vacated seat on the US Circuit Court of Appeals for DC, after his confirmation to the Supreme Court. While Republicans stoutly weathered accusations of attempted rape and protests in opposition to Kavanaugh in order to confirm him, they might be aiming to mitigate the damage to their perception of being anti-woman and racially biased by appointing an Indian-American lady to replace him.
So what do we find out about Neomi Rao, the 45-year-old ‘regulatory czar’, as she has been known as?
Meet the Family
Neomi Rao is the daughter of Indian mother and father, Dr Jehangir Rao and Dr Zerin Rao, who emigrated to the US in 1972 and settled in Detroit, according to her statement at a hearing on her nomination because the administrator in her earlier position.
In her statement, she wrote about how her mother and father had emigrated to the US with nothing but $16 and their medical degrees. Her mother had “died too young of cancer,” she says in the statement.
She has two kids, Isabella and Ezra, and is married to Alan Lefkowitz.
What Are Her Qualifications?
Neomi Rao is by all accounts a respected legal scholar. At the time of her nomination in the DC Circuit, she had been an administrator at the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget at the White House since 2017, according to Washington Post. As administrator of OIRA, Rao was responsible for “vetting and tallying cost estimates for most regulations”, Washington Post reported.
Prior to her posting there, she was the associate law professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Virginia. While there, she also founded its Center for the Study of the Administrative State, her statement reads.
She is a graduate of Yale University, and studied law at the University of Chicago Law School, completing her studies in 2000. After that, she had also worked as associate counsel and special assistant to former US president George W Bush.
In Praise of Donald Trump
In a Washington Post op-ed in October 2018, Rao had written in praise of the Trump administration for its regulatory efforts, which she wrote had “saved billions of dollars”.
Rao is a conservative and staunch Republican, who favors the idea that federal agencies should be abolished, in line with what one-time White House strategist and ideologue Steve Bannon envisioned. She has previously written that heads of federal agencies should be liable to dismissal by the president.
In her writings, Rao has also been critical of Congressional curbs on presidential power, particularly in the removal or dismissal of agency heads.