In a rare move Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been secretly lobbying Republican Senators to urge them to vote to confirm President Donald Trump's highly controversial judicial nominee, Neomi Rao.
Justice Thomas "is working behind the scenes to boost the prospects of his former law clerk, Neomi Rao, to serve on a powerful federal appeals court in Washington," The Washington Post reports Thursday.
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is a small but highly powerful appellate court that has the power to hear cases brought by or against the federal government. It "tends to have exclusive jurisdiction over matters that are likely to have a national effect," and its judges are considered prime candidates to become Supreme Court justices.
Most recently, Judge, and now Justice Brett Kavanaugh sat on the D.C. Court of Appeals. Neomi Rao, whose rulings and stated beliefs are considered far out of the mainstream and by some entirely inappropriate for any judge sitting on the federal bench, is President Trump's nominee to replace Kavanaugh now that he has been elevated to the nation's top court. Four of the nation's current sitting Supreme Court justices came directly from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Justice Thomas is not the only lobbyist in his family. His wife, far right wing Tea Party activist Ginni Thomas, a professional lobbyist, was recently in the news after it was discovered she has been lobbying President Trump inside the White House, disparaging transgender troops and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Thomas' husband, Justice Thomas, likely will hear at least one case on the constitutionally of banning troops because they are transgender.
Meanwhile, Republicans opposed to Rao believes she is not extreme enough to overturn Roe v. Wade, the top target of the religious right and many conservative groups. Others, including some Democrats, point to her refusal to say if she believes same-sex relationships are a sin.
Other critics of Rao point to her college-era writings "about date rape, sexual assault and the responsibility of those involved. At times, she placed the onus on women to 'accept responsibility,'" NBC News reported during her confirmation hearing.
"She was asked repeatedly about one article in the Yale Herald, headlined, 'Shades of Gray,' in which she posited that sexual assaults at college parties might be avoided if women didn’t drink too much. She wrote that 'a good way to avoid a potential date rape is to stay reasonably sober.'"
Rao has expressed regret about some of her earlier writings, "but she also said some of what she wrote amounted to 'common sense observations' that would make women less likely to be a victim of assault."