Judge Neomi Rao, D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Judge Neomi Rao

District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Neomi Jehangir Rao was born in March 1973 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She attended Yale University and then the University of Chicago Law School. She clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, then earned a one-year clerkship with Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court before entering into the private practice of law in London.

She returned to the U.S. where she worked in the White House counsel’s office under President George W. Bush and was a staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Later she became a professor at George Mason University. She founded the Center for the Study of the Administrative State.

She was named by President Trump to become the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget, and was confirmed to the position by the U.S. Senate in July 2017.

When President Trump named Brett Kavanaugh as a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, he nominated Rao to take his seat at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Senate confirmed her in a 53-46 party-line vote, and she received her commission in March 2019.

Rao is married to Alan Lefkowitz, and they have two children. She is Jewish.

In the News…

A detention camp was established in 2002 by former President George W. Bush at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to house detainees who came into U.S. custody during the war on terrorism. It has been the subject of intense criticism from human rights advocates, many of whom have called for its closing.

A Yemeni citizen who has been detained at the military base since 2004 has asked the court for habeas corpus, challenging his detention at the facility.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled that detainees held at the military base do not have the right to make due process claims in court.

Judge Neomi Rao wrote in the decision that “the Due Process Clause may not be invoked by aliens without property or presence in the sovereign territory of the United States.”

A 2008 decision by the Supreme Court said detainees could challenge their imprisonment by filing habeas corpus petitions in federal court, but in Rao’s opinion she said the Supreme Court decision stated nothing about the claims that detainees could raise in such petitions.

“While we must enforce constitutional limits on the Executive Branch in this context as in any other, it would be well beyond our authority to extend or create new constitutional limits on the conduct of wartime detention by the political branches,” she wrote.

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Judge Rao today? You can let her know at:

The Honorable Neomi Rao
U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit
E. Bennett Perryman U.S. Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001


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