Neomi Jehangir Rao: bio

Judge Neomi Rao
Judge Neomi Rao

Occupation: Circuit Judge, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit
Born: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, on March 22, 1973
Education: Yale University (B.A., 1995), University of Chicago Law School (J.D., 1999)


Born to Parsi parents in 1973, Neomi Rao was the second Indian American to join the powerful DC Circuit Court of Appeals, after Sri Srinivasan.

She was nominated by President Trump on January 23, 2019, to a seat vacated by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was elevated to the Supreme Court. Rao was confirmed by the Senate on March 13, 2019, and she received commission on March 18, 2019.

She recently hit the headlines when she wrote the 2-1 majority opinion, asking a lower court judge to drop a case against his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn.

Before joining the court, Rao, 45, served as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, part of the White House Office of Management and Budget, from 2017 to 2019.

In the federal court, she took the seat vacated by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “She’s going to be fantastic – great person,” Trump said.

Other career highlights:*

Law clerk, Hon. J. Harvie Wilkinson III, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1999-2000

Counsel for nominations and constitutional law, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 2000-2001

Law clerk, Hon. Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court of the United States, 2001-2002

Private practice, London, United Kingdom, 2002-2005

Associate counsel and special assistant to President George W. Bush, 2005-2006

Professor, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, 2006-2019; director and founder, Center for the Study of the Administrative State, 2015-2017

Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 2017-2019

Other Nominations/Recess Appointments:

Nominated to U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, November 14, 2018; no Senate vote

*Source: Federal Judicial Service


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