Neomi Rao Proudly Stands at Odds with Marriage Equality

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February 4, 2019
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Ahead of tomorrow’s hearing on Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Lambda Legal sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urging them to oppose Rao’s nomination. The letter was authored by Lambda Legal and signed by multiple national, state, and local LGBT organizations.

“Neomi Rao lacks the judgment and credibility to be an independent and impartial judge on any court,” said Sharon McGowan, Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer at Lambda Legal. “Her use of racial slurs and her early writings on sexual assault, diversity, and marriage equality should immediately disqualify her from any nomination for a lifetime appointment, just as they have for other nominees.”

Ms. Rao has fervently argued that that same-sex couples are not “normal” and has disparaged the notion that the Constitution protects not only liberty and equality but also human dignity, a concept that was central to the marriage equality decisions.

In the letter, Lambda Legal and the 18 signatories argue that Ms. Rao’s views are fundamentally at odds with the liberty and equality guaranteed to LGBT people by the Constitution:

“The trouble is that Ms. Rao’s analysis suggests that the equal recognition demanded for same-sex married couples in United States v. Windsor, for example, is materially different from the recognition afforded others in equal protection cases, and is constitutionally suspect. In her view, the right of those couples, who have been singled out by Congress for discriminatory treatment, to respectful recognition from their government… is questionable.”

The letter also reviews Ms. Rao’s long history of aggressive attacks on LGBT people and minority groups, including her flippant use of the slur “oreo,” a term that Republican and Democratic Senators have found disqualifying for nominees in the past.

Just last year, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) helped block the nomination of Ryan Bounds after it was discovered that he also used racial slurs like “oreos” and “twinkies” in his early writings.