Lambda Legal: Senate Republicans Rubber-Stamp Neomi Rao’s Nomination

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February 28, 2019

(Washington, DC, February 28, 2019) – Today, Sharon McGowan, Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer of Lambda Legal, issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, on a party-line vote:

“It is incredibly frustrating to see Ms. Rao’s nomination move forward despite Senators on both sides of the aisle raising serious concerns about her record,” said Sharon McGowan, Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer at Lambda Legal. “Regardless of one’s political affiliation, Ms. Rao’s offensive use of racial slurs and her disturbing writings on sexual assault, diversity, and marriage equality are offensive enough to disqualify her from consideration for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.  Yet Senate Republicans continue to turn a blind eye and rubber-stamp every nominee put forth by the Trump Administration. We hope that there are still Republicans capable of putting principle above politics, if and when Ms. Rao’s nomination goes to the full Senate.  The American people deserve better than this.”

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. On February 4, 2019, Lambda Legal and 18 national state and local signatories wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee explaining how Ms. Rao’s views are fundamentally at odds with the liberty and equality guaranteed to LGBT people by the Constitution. 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. 


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Ian Wilhite

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

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