Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing for current Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator and Scalia Law Professor Neomi Rao's nomination to the D.C. Circuit. RNLA Executive Director Michael Thielen described in the Daily Caller how Senate Judiciary Democrats attempted to trip her up and ended up only looking foolish themselves:
First, hapless Sen. Cory “Spartacus” Booker whose line of questioning was so bad and ham-handed on religion that Sen. Ted Cruz who followed him had to lecture him on what the Judiciary Committee can and cannot do. Cruz said: “We’ve seen a growing pattern among Democrats of hostility to religious faith…This committee is not a theological court of inquisition.” Booker asked for time back to clarify and agreed with Cruz that questioning a nominee on their religion was not appropriate.
But that was not Booker’s only mistake. He also made the gaffe of asking, “Have you ever had any LGBTQ law clerks?” To which Rao replied: “Senator, I’ve yet to be a judge. I don’t have law clerks.” In addition to being potentially illegal in an employment context, the question itself is troubling. Asking a person their sexual orientation in a job interview opens the door to potential discrimination.
While watching Booker question was kind of like watching a multi-car wreck develop and grow, at least he was not condescending. Sen. Dick Durbin was troubled by the fact that Neomi Rao and her Indian family arrived in the country with nothing besides $16 and a dream in part inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. . . . Durbin was slightly better than Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse as at least Durbin cleared the low bar of asking a question. Whitehouse asked exactly zero questions of Rao. He instead went on a conspiracy-laden rant that talked of “dark money” and claimed that all conservative judges and judicial nominees only serve “special interests.”
The rant was so bad that when it was finished Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham raised an eyebrow and said “okay,” drawing laughter from the audience. The irony of his rant is that the best example of “dark money” from “special interests” in the room was the presumably paid protesters wearing “Reject Rao” t-shirts funded by the Alliance for Justice, a group with just that sort of dark funding.
The Senate Judiciary Democrats' histrionics and gaffes are likely to continue tomorrow as the Committee votes on the nominations of William Barr to be Attorney General and 44 judges re-nominated by President Trump, including several whom the Democrats have criticized for their religious faith. Follow the RNLA on Twitter for updates on tomorrow's meeting and judicial nominations in general.