U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) voted Thursday to advance Neomi Rao’s nomination to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-10 along party lines to move Rao’s nomination to the full Senate, Fox News said. Rao would fill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s vacant seat on the court.
Rao is in charge of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, where she has a key job in President Donald Trump’s work to cut federal rules and regulations, Fox News said.
She also is on leave as an associate professor of law from George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. She teaches and writes in the areas of structural constitutional law, administrative law, and legislation and statutory interpretation, according to her biography. She founded the law school’s Center for the Study of the Administrative State.
Democrats and two Republicans — Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) on Thursday grilled Rao on her stance on topics from sexual assault to LGBT rights to deregulation, Fox News said.
She said, “Tennesseans have regularly said over the last several years one of the things that concerned them most is the judges that are on our federal bench: their qualifications, their character, their expertise…
“When it comes to Ms. Rao, in my visits with her, I appreciated so much the expertise she brings with her.
“As a female … you have to work twice as hard and prove yourself twice as capable in order to be considered for the same position. To see her diligence, her preparation, the effort she has put into this, I am grateful for her commitment to that service and grateful for her service to our nation. I look forward to supporting her as we move her forward for consideration.”
Rao has been placed on the Senate’s Executive Calendar, according to her nomination tracking information.
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