17:31, March 13 269 0 abajournal.com

2019-03-13 17:31:05
Trump has filled 1 in 5 appellate judgeships with confirmation of Neomi Rao to DC Circuit


Neomi Rao. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a month after she apologized for insensitivity in college articles she wrote about date rape.

The Senate confirmed Rao in a 53-46 vote along party lines. She is filling the seat held by Brett Kavanaugh before his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, report Politico, the National Law Journal, Bloomberg Law and the Washington Post.

In one of the articles, Rao wrote: “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.”

Rao told senators in a Feb. 11 letter that her perspective has changed. “Victims should not be blamed for the terrible things that have happened to them,” she wrote.

With Rao’s confirmation, President Donald Trump has filled 36 out of 179 appeals court seats, or 20 percent of the seats, according to Bloomberg Law.

Also confirmed this week was Lowenstein Sandler litigation partner Paul Matey, a former deputy chief counsel to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the National Law Journal reported.

Matey will sit on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, shifting the court to a 7-6 majority of GOP appointees, the article says. He did not have blue slip approval from either home state senator.

The Washington Post notes that the “rapid clip of confirmations” is likely to slow in the near future “simply because the GOP will have filled all the existing vacancies on the powerful federal appeals courts.” Six nominations are pending for nine vacant appellate seats, according to the Post.

Republicans are now planning to focus on district court nominees and a planned rule change that will speed up debate, the Post says. The change would allow no more than two hours of debate after senators invoke cloture.