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Judicial nominee Neomi Rao may get 'Kavanaugh treatment'
Something about judicial confirmation hearings seems to trip up Sen. Cory Booker -- who got corrected by a high-profile nominee on Tuesday during a heated exchange about diversity on her staff.
Booker - Headlines - September - Spartacus - Moment
Booker made headlines last September for cheekily declaring his “I am Spartacus” moment as he moved to release sensitive documents during now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing, only to be told they weren't so sensitive after all. On Tuesday, the New Jersey Democratic senator tried to turn up the heat once again while grilling Neomi Rao, the nominee to replace Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C., on whether she ever had any LGBTQ law clerks.
The question was part of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate's bid to explore her views on LGBTQ rights, given her past writings – but there was a problem: Rao currently isn’t a judge, and doesn’t have law clerks.
LGBTQ - Law - Clerks - Booker
"Have you ever had any LGBTQ law clerks?" Booker asked.
Rao responded: "Senator, I've yet to be a judge. I don't have law clerks."
Booker - Beat - Someone - Rao - Head
Booker didn’t miss a beat, and clarified that he meant “someone working for you.” Rao is currently the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a position described as the Trump administration’s “deregulatory czar."
“To be honest I don’t know the sexual orientation of my staff,” Rao responded. “I take people as they come, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. I treat people as individuals.”
Booker - Question - Part - Back-and-forth - Senator
Booker’s question was part of a combative back-and-forth between the senator and the judicial nominee over her stance on LGBTQ rights. Rao’s past statements and writings have come under fire since her nomination, especially a 2008 article opposing the Supreme Court’s 2003 landmark decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which made same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory.
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