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President Trump’s nominee for a seat on the federal bench came under fire Tuesday from civil rights groups when she claimed that Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision inspired her.

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Neomi Rao faced questioning Tuesday from the Senate Judiciary Committee for a seat on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to replace Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s controversial selection for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Wow. Neomi Rao just said she was ‘inspired by Martin Luther King’s vision.’ Let’s be clear: Rao has supported MANY policies that have rolled back civil and human rights advances for millions of people in this country. How, precisely, was that inspired by Dr. King?” tweeted The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations.

Rao, 45, worked in the George W. Bush White House but has never tried a case in court. She currently serves as administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

“Neomi Rao’s collegiate writings are offensive and show that she should not be entrusted to serve in a lifetime appointment to the bench,” the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said in a statement. “Nothing in her record suggests she has disavowed these views. From her inflammatory language around LGBTQ rights and date rape, to her idea that affirmative action is a ‘hot, money-making idea,’ we should be alarmed that the nomination ever progressed, and that she has been included as a potential Supreme Court pick.”

The Leadership Conference said Rao is disqualified as a judicial nominee because of her long history of strongly opposing the advancement of civil rights protections for communities of color.

“Rao halted an EEOC rule that required large companies to disclose what they pay employees by sex, race, and ethnicity – a rule that was intended to remedy the unequal pay that remains rampant in the American workplace,” the organization noted.

The nominee also came under fire over her college writings in which she criticized affirmative action, blamed intoxicated women for having a role in their own date and said LGBT rights were part of a “trendy” political movement.


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