President Donald Trump nominated Neomi Rao to fill the vacant seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals previously held by now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Rao sat for questioning Tuesday morning before the Senate Judicial Committee as part of the confirmation process.
Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — who recently announced his bid for the presidency in 2020 — was one of those who questioned Rao. But in his effort to catch the Trump judicial nominee in some sort of “gotcha” moment, he succeeded only in embarrassing himself and highlighting just how superb a pick Rao truly was for the judicial nomination.
After first questioning Rao on articles she had written in the past related to gay marriage and equal rights for gays and lesbians, Booker spoke about “bullying” and “discrimination” that homosexuals have faced, took an underhanded shot at the Trump administration over the issue, then asked Rao how she would rule if such a case were to come before her.
Rao provided an excellent response to that question, which prompted a foolishly ignorant and irrelevant — possibly even illegal — question about the sexual identity of those employed by her. Rao seemed to almost show pity for Booker as she issued a response that was a veritable home run that likely left Booker wishing he had rephrased his entire line of questioning.
Here is that moment: pic.twitter.com/CLPqY9PmjT
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 5, 2019
When asked how she might rule on an LGBTQ discrimination-related suit, Rao replied, “Senator, I think civil rights and equal protection of the laws are two essential values in our system, and if I were to be confirmed as a judge, I would firmly uphold that.”
Booker then displayed that he was either ignorant of Rao’s career history or how the judicial system works — or both — or that he was reading a copy and pasted set of talking points, as he asked, “Have you ever had an LGBTQ law clerk?”
Rao replied with a shrug, “I have not been a judge, so I don’t have any law clerks.”
Perhaps realizing his mistake, Booker quickly reframed the question and asked again, “I’m sorry, someone working for you?”
As if embarrassed for Booker that he would even ask such a question, Rao replied, “Ummm … to be honest, I don’t know the sexual orientation of my staff, so, you know, I take people as they come, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation — I treat people as individuals. Those are the values I grew up with, and those are the values I would apply if confirmed.”
Set aside for a moment the awesome response Rao provided to that absurd question from Booker about the sexual identity of her employees, and consider Booker’s question itself.
It would be illegal and discriminatory for Rao to ask actual and prospective employees about their sexual orientation, and had she replied affirmatively to Booker that she was aware of the orientation of her employees, he and his comrades on the left would likely have skewered her over it.
Furthermore, Booker’s ridiculous question, and Rao’s incredible response to it, showed that he is nothing more than an identity-obsessed leftist who cares nothing about the merits and qualifications of an individual — in this case, Rao’s employees — and instead cares only about what particular social identity group those employees can be fit into.
As bad as all of that was for Booker, it wasn’t the only moment of his four minutes of questioning that didn’t quite go as planned.
As a National Review writer noted, Booker seemed intent at the start to apply some sort of religious test to Rao’s nomination, as per her personal beliefs on gay marriage and LGBTQ rights, that is an abomination in our constitutional republic that explicitly prohibits religious tests for government service.
Booker cited Rao’s past writings on those issues and asked for her personal opinion on whether gay marriage, and even inter-racial marriage, was “immoral” or a “sin.”
Without signaling one way or the other, Rao calmly and properly responded that her personal opinions on such matters were irrelevant and would be placed to the side if she were to be faced with such issues in court. She said she would instead “faithfully” abide by Supreme Court precedent wherever possible.
This line of questioning by Booker toward Rao did not go as the presidential contender had likely planned.
It has left him exposed once again as a partisan hack who is as ignorant as he is outspoken.
That’s a combination that probably won’t bode well for him as he battles upwards of two dozen other Democrats all vying for the same position over the next year or so.
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