President Donald Trump will nominate Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Speaking at the White House’s Diwali celebration Tuesday, the president said he was slated to make the announcement on Wednesday, but was so delighted by the event he spontaneously decided to reveal Rao’s pending nomination. Diwali is a Hindu religious festival and Rao is Indian-American.
“We were going to announce that tomorrow and I said you know, here we are Neomi — we’re never gonna do better than this — I thought it was an appropriate place,” Trump said.
“Thank you very much, Mr. President, for the confidence you’ve shown in me,” Rao replied. “I greatly appreciate it.”
Rao, the daughter of Indian immigrants, has served as the Trump administration’s deregulatory czar since 2017, and is widely considered a leading authority on agency law. Before re-entering the White House, she founded and led the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, increasingly a bastion of conservative jurisprudence.
The Center seeks to advance and curate debates over the scope of federal regulatory authority, increasingly a priority for conservative legal scholars who fear agency power has grown such that the regulatory bureaucracy is now its own unaccountable branch of government.
According to The Associated Press, Rao is the seventh law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas whom Trump has nominated to the federal bench.
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