Intern Emeritus Neomi Rao, who spearheaded President Trump’s regulatory roll-back, has been nominated to fill Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Training Tomorrow’s Leaders; Enlightening Today’s
2018 was quite a year for Neomi Rao. She celebrated her first anniversary as administrator of the federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. In her first 15 months on the job, she oversaw the withdrawal or delay of more than 1,500 planned rules. On balance, she eliminated 22 regulatory actions for every one new regulation on the books.
In June, the Network of Enlightened Women named her their Empowered Woman of the Year, citing “her monumental leadership of regulatory reform.” Rao’s work in cutting regulations, they noted, had empowered countless women to flourish.
In October, Heritage President Kay Coles James and Vice President for Policy Promotion Bridgett Wagner presented her with our Distinguished Intern Alumni Award—an honor previously bestowed on conservative luminaries such as Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Marjorie Dannenfelser, founder and president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
In the fall of 1994, during her senior year at Yale, Rao interned at Heritage as our Lawrence Wade Journalism Fellow. After graduating college, she went on to the University of Chicago Law School.
Then, it was back to Washington, where she clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, served as counsel to both the Senate Judiciary Committee and President George W. Bush, and taught at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law, where she founded the Center for the Study of the Administrative State.
Rao credits Heritage with helping instill the conservative principles that have guided her throughout her professional life. “Heritage has a long history of fighting for individual liberty, limited government and constitutional principles,” she said at our 2018 President’s Club meeting. “These are all ideas that have animated my work both as an academic and in my career in public service.”
And 2018 had even bigger things in store for this distinguished alumna. On Nov. 13, President Trump announced that Rao was his pick to succeed recently installed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.