President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he will nominate conservative lawyer Neomi Rao, known for her strong anti-regulatory views, to replace newly appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on an influential federal appeals court.
Rao currently serves as Trump’s top official on regulatory matters. Trump, whose administration has reversed a succession of regulations on the environment and other issues since he took office last year, made the announcement during a White House ceremony in honor of Diwali, a Hindu festival. Rao’s parents are Indian.
“She’s going to be fantastic – great person,” Trump said.
“Thank you very much, Mr. President, for the confidence you’ve shown in me. I greatly appreciate it,” Rao said.
If confirmed by the Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, Rao would replace Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which hears most major cases over the lawfulness of federal regulations.
Before joining the administration, she was a law professor at George Mason University in Virginia. She also served as a clerk for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh on Oct. 6 after a contentious political fight in which the nominee denied allegations of sexual misconduct dating to the 1980s.
By replacing Kavanaugh, Rao would not change the ideological balance of the appeals court, which has a majority of Democratic-appointed judges.
Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham
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According to reports, the White House will be shutting down accordingly, with only the most senior staffers staying on.
"Sources tell me the White House told all staffers who don’t need to be there to leave by 4 pm ET today due to planned protests," CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted. "I’m told by a source that White House senior staff will continue working."
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The move comes after the body cameras of Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of David McAtee, a local Black businessman, had not been active.
🚨 Mayor of #Louisville: The body cameras of those involved in the shooting last night that killed David McAtee were NOT active.
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