Neomi Rao is President Trump's choice to replace Brett Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit Court. As such, she could expect a difficult line of questioning at her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. In particular, the senators were concerned about a recent BuzzFeed report claiming that Rao "wrote inflammatory op-eds in college" about date rape. In particular, the outlet points to the line in which she wrote, “a good way to avoid a potential date rape is to stay reasonably sober.”
But, per usual, media left out some key context, as noted by the National Review. In that same op-ed quoted above, Rao wrote the following:
“Clearly, if the male student forced the woman to have sex against her will, then he should be held responsible,” and "A man who rapes a drunk girl should be prosecuted.”
When it was his turn to talk at Tuesday's hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) noted that Rao's advice to women was pretty sound and that she has proven to be a force when it comes to combatting sexual assault.
Excellent observations by @tedcruz “Very good advice to college students — don’t drink to the point of losing self-control. You were unequivocal then and are now that anyone who commits a crime of sexual violence should be prosecuted.” #ConfirmRao pic.twitter.com/7dtdEyXSGq— Gayle Trotter (@gayletrotter) February 5, 2019
“I have two daughters,” Cruz explained. “I certainly intend to give them the advice not to drink to excess. And it is unquestionably true that any student that drinks to the points of getting drunk and losing control risks being a victim, risks being vulnerable.”
Cruz also sounded off on his colleague Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) for subjecting Rao to a "religious test" by asking her about her views on LGBT issues.
Booker had a chance to immediately respond to Cruz's remarks, and told his colleague that he would "die" to protect Americans' religious freedom.
.@CoryBooker just destroyed @TedCruz's attempt to label relevant questions on LGBTQ discrimination as religious bigotry.— Jenn Loving (@jennlovingdc) February 5, 2019
"The Senator and I both know that religion was used as a ruse to discriminate against African Americans." #RejectRao pic.twitter.com/itbxoSPCsr
National Review also deconstructs BuzzFeed's claim that Rao had extreme views on race. The outlet accused her of using insensitive terms, but did not mention the following.
Rao had introduced Dr. King even before the selectively quoted paragraph, and it seems pretty clear that the goal of her piece was to embrace his dream “that one day people would be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.” She then complained about the use of certain epithets: “So-called conforming blacks are called ‘oreos’ by members of their own community, conservatives become ‘fascists.’” BuzzFeed quoted only the last sentence and none of what came before it.
Rao approaches this job with a robust resume. She is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School, she clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson and Justice Clarence Thomas and served in the George W. Bush White House. She is currently President Trump’s administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
She's qualified. Just ask the American Bar Association.
DC Circuit nominee Neomi Rao is set to appear tomorrow before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her confirmation hearing – Graham just announced that Rao got a "well qualified" rating from the ABA committee that vets nominees pic.twitter.com/Je4zonD16I— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) February 4, 2019