Neomi Rao cleared by U.S. Senate to become White House ‘Regulatory Czar’

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Professor Neomi Rao of the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, Donald Trump’s nominee or ‘Regulatory Czar’ was confirmed by the U.S. Senate July 10. (Photo: George Mason University

President Donald Trump’s nominee Neomi Rao, associate professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate July 10, to become the first Indian-American to head the important Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget.

Senate records show it was a partisan vote of 54-41, that cleared Rao, a highly qualified attorney who teaches and writes in the areas of structural constitutional law, administrative law, and legislation and statutory interpretation at George Mason. She founded and directs the Center for the Study of the Administrative State. Rao did not return calls or texts by press time.

Professor Rao’s focus at GMU has been on the political and constitutional accountability of the administrative state, in particular considering the role of Congress. She is widely cited on certain aspects of her studies in the United States and abroad, according to the biography on the University website.

Jonathan H. Adler, professor of constitutional, administrative, and environmental law at the Case Western University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, called her an ‘excellent choice’ as the country’s ‘Regulatory Czar’.

“Trump’s selection of Rao suggests the administration is serious about regulatory reform, not merely reducing high-profile regulatory burdens,” Adler said in an article in The Washington Post April 7 when President Trump announced his intent to nominate Rao. “The selection of a well-respected administrative law expert further suggests the administration recognizes the need to be attentive to legal constraints on administrative action and that meaningful reforms require more than issuing a few executive orders. Rao is a superlative pick.”

Rao earned her law degree with honors from the University of Chicago Law School and her B.A. from Yale University. Rao has served in all three branches of the federal government – as Associate Counsel and Special Assistant to President George W. Bush; as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where she was responsible for judicial nominations and constitutional law issues. And she clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and for Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Rao has served as a Member of the Administrative Conference of the United States and on the Governing Council of the American Bar Association Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, as well as co-chair of the Section’s Regulatory Policy Committee.