Neomi Rao, President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, once called race a “hot, money-making issue” and suggested women who are raped while they are drunk should bear some responsibility for their attacks, according to BuzzFeed.
The comments were discovered in a series of op-eds Rao wrote between 1994 and 1996, directly before and after she graduated from Yale University, that resurfaced in the wake of her nomination.
In the essays, reviewed by BuzzFeed, Rao accused “multiculturalists” of undermining “American culture” with “their touchy-feely talk of tolerance.” She described race as “a hot, money-making issue,” downplayed the fight for LGBTQ acceptance as a “trendy” political movement and described welfare as something for the “indigent and lazy.”
In one 1994 op-ed for the Yale Herald, titled “Shades of Gray,” Rao expounded on her views on consent.
“I’ve been to a lot of fraternity parties on this campus. It has always seemed self-evident to me that even if I drank a lot, I would still be responsible for my actions,” 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.”
Of a woman who is sexually assaulted while drunk, Rao wrote: “If she drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice.”
Rao currently serves as head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which falls within the White House Office of Management and Budget. Trump in November announced her nomination to the District of Columbia Circuit, a powerful body sometimes thought of as the second-highest court in the country because it hears cases pertaining to government and executive power.
It has also been a stepping stone to the Supreme Court for a number of justices, including Kavanaugh, whose own confirmation hearing was marred by multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
Rao is also on the administration’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees in the event of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s departure from the bench, Politico reported.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Rao’s op-eds. In a statement to HuffPost, Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said Rao’s writings were “intentionally provocative.”
“The views she expressed a quarter century ago as a college student writing for her student newspaper were intentionally provocative, designed to raise questions and push back against liberal elitism that dominated her campus at the time,” Kupec said.