Neomi Rao, President Donald Trump’s choice to take the DC Circuit seat vacated by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, has a history of controversial writings, including authoring articles attributing some blame to women for being raped under the influence of alcohol.
The findings from the progressive advocacy group Alliance for Justice came as Rao’s nomination continues to await further consideration in the Senate, several months removed from Kavanaugh’s successful but fraught confirmation to the Supreme Court, a controversy largely defined by allegations of sexual misconduct against women. Kavanaugh denied the claims.
The group’s findings came from articles she wrote in the 1990s at a handful of outlets at Yale University and the Washington Times just before and after her college graduation. The topics include writings raising questions about alcohol and sexual consent along with other comments on gender and race.
“Unless someone made her drinks undetectably strong or forced them down her throat, 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,” read a 1994 article titled “Shades of Gray.”
The same article said, “A man who rapes a drunk girl should be prosecuted. At the same time, a good way to avoid a potential date rape is to stay reasonably sober.”
A 1993 article titled “The Feminist Dilemma” said, “Women believe falsely that they should be able to go anywhere with anyone.”
“Although I am certainly not arguing that date rape victims ask for it, when playing the modern dating game women have to understand and accept the consequences of their sexuality,” the article read. “Some feminists chant that women should be free to wear short skirts or bright lipstick, but true sexual signals lie beyond these blatant signs.”
In another article titled “How the diversity game is played,” Rao lambasted “multiculturalists.”
“Underneath their touchy-feely talk of tolerance, they seek to undermine American culture,” the article read. “They argue that culture, society and politics have been defined – and presumably defiled – by white, male heterosexuals hostile to their way of life. For example, homosexuals want to redefine marriage and parenthood; feminists in women’s studies programs want to replace so-called male rationality with more sensitive responses common to womyn. It may be kinder and gentler, but can you build a bridge with it?”
The White House and Justice Department did not return requests for comment from CNN.
BuzzFeed News was first to report on the Alliance for Justice’s findings, and noted that similar language on race within the article review was part of Trump’s unsuccessful nomination of Ryan Bounds to the 9th Circuit. BuzzFeed also noted that in a 1994 article, Rao referred to gay rights as a “trendy” political movement. In its report on Rao’s writings, Mother Jones noted that in 1992, she dismissed the greenhouse effect, depletion of the ozone layer and acid rain as “the three major environmental boogeymen.”
In a statement to BuzzFeed, Kurri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, defended Rao.
“Neomi Rao is a renowned constitutional and administrative law expert. That is why the President nominated her to the D.C. Circuit. The views she expressed a quarter century ago as a college student writing for her student newspaper were intentionally provocative, designed to raise questions and push back against liberal elitism that dominated her campus at the time,” Kupec said to BuzzFeed. “More than two decades later, her views can be found in her numerous academic articles and speeches. We are confident Ms. Rao will make an exemplary judge on the D.C Circuit.”
Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, told CNN that she thought Rao’s views were “completely disqualifying” for a lifetime appointment to such a key judicial post and that the views expressed in their review “demonstrate a real hostility to the very individuals and groups that would appear before her on the court.”
Rao joined the Trump administration as administrator of the Office of Information of Regulatory Affairs within the White House Office of Management and Budget, and with the change in Congress at the start of the new year, it is up to Trump whether to send her nomination back to the Senate.