WASHINGTON ― A woman who blamed women for date rape will now fill Brett Kavanaugh’s former U.S. court seat.
The Senate voted 53-46 to put Neomi Rao into a lifetime seat on the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the second most powerful court in the country. Every Republican voted for her. Every Democrat voted against her except for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who was not present.
Rao, a 45-year-old attorney, has taken heat for weakening protections for sexual assault survivors in her current role as President Donald Trump’s administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a division of the Office of Management and Budget that evaluates federal government regulations.
But most of the criticism directed at Rao stems from inflammatory articles she wrote in university publications from 1992 to 1996 ― she graduated from Yale University in 1995 ― on sexual assault, race and LGBTQ rights.
Among other things, Rao wrote in 1994 that “a woman, like a man, decides when and how much to drink. And if she drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice.” She said that a “good way to avoid a potential date rape is to stay reasonably sober.”
Rao has never been a judge. She will fill the court seat previously occupied by Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court in October after an ugly, painful, weeks-long Senate fight over whether women’s sexual misconduct allegations against him were credible and mattered. Kavanaugh denied all of the allegations, alternating between crying, yelling and interrupting Senate committee members and blaming his rocky confirmation process on politics.