February 5, 2019
Contact: Jennifer Wang
(202) 812-9325 /

Washington, D.C. – President Donald Trump has nominated Neomi Rao, the current Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), to replace Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s former seat on the D.C. Circuit Court. Rao testified at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. In the past, Rao clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and was a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School before being confirmed to her role with OIRA in 2017. A seat on the D.C. Circuit is considered a prestigious and influential position, as many of its judges have gone on to serve on the Supreme Court.

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow issued the following statement in response:

“We are deeply concerned about President Trump’s decision to nominate Neomi Rao to a role on the D.C. Circuit. Ms. Rao’s record of gutting protections for communities of color, women, LGBTQ people, and sexual assault survivors showcases her strong stance against protections for AAPI women and girls, and if she is confirmed, she would be put into a position to rubber stamp the administration’s harmful policies, which have thus far been diametrically opposed to our values and priorities.

“In her position as the head of the OIRA, Rao has signed off on numerous policies that undermine the rights of women, LGBTQ people, and communities of color. For instance, she suspended a regulation, designed to address gender pay gaps, that required employers to report pay based on race and sex. She has also endorsed policies that roll back Title IX protections for students who experience sexual assault and harassment and worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to gut protections against housing discrimination based on race. Rao also finalized rules that allow medical providers to refuse to treat a patient based on a “conscientious objection,” which will detrimentally impact LGBTQ people seeking medical care and people seeking reproductive health care. The President’s choice to nominate Rao is disconcerting because it continues his pattern of filling the courts with individuals who demonstrate hostility towards communities of color, women, and LGBTQ people and a disregard for the rights and liberties protected by the Constitution.

“AAPIs across the country are counting on women of color in positions of power to ensure that our fundamental and civil rights are protected and preserved. Neomi Rao’s record raises serious doubts about her ability to perform her duties as a judge with fairness and without bias. If Neomi Rao is confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, we call on her to be a fair and impartial judge and to uphold our fundamental rights protected by the Constitution and the laws of the United States. AAPI women and girls deserve to have agency and autonomy over our bodies, our families, and our lives. NAPAWF will continue fighting fiercely to create a world in which AAPI women and girls have autonomy and a real chance to thrive, and we hope our elected and appointed officials will join us in making this a reality.”


The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.