Neomi Rao Confirmed to D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

Neomi Rao
Neomi Rao (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Neomi Rao, President Donald Trump's pick to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, to fill the spot previously held by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Rao was confirmed in a 53-46 vote, with not a single Democrat voting in her favor. Democrats criticized her decades-old opinions on sexual assault, culled from an opinion piece she had written for her college paper, the Yale Herald, in 1994.  If a woman "drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was a part of her choice," Rao wrote of sexual assault.

Senate Democrats decried Rao's nomination both in hearings and on Twitter in the days leading up to the vote. Just hours before the vote, Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) aired his opposition on Twitter.

"Today the Senate votes on the nomination of Neomi Rao to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court for life. She has minimal experience practicing law-no trials, no appeals, only one brief filed in U.S. court-and her writings on race, sexual assault, and other issues are deeply troubling," he wrote.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), on the other hand, praised Rao when he spoke before the vote, calling her "another of the president’s excellent choices to serve as a federal judge."

"In testimony before our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, she demonstrated a commitment to maintaining the public trust, and upholding the rule of law," McConnell said.

The conservative advocacy group Judicial Crisis Network released a statement supporting the confirmation.

"Thank you Leader McConnell for standing up to Senate Democrats’ bullying tactics and spearheading Neomi Rao’s confirmation," said Carrie Severino, JCN chief counsel and policy director. "Rao’s experience and intellect make her uniquely qualified to fill Justice Kavanaugh’s shoes on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Rao will fairly apply the law and honor the Constitution; she'll be a phenomenal judge serving on one of our nation’s highest courts."