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Trump's Indian-American Judicial Nominee Neomi Rao Apologises for College Writings on Date Rape

In an article on date rape, Neomi Rao, wrote that if a woman drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice.

PTI

Updated:February 12, 2019, 5:33 PM IST
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Trump's Indian-American Judicial Nominee Neomi Rao Apologises for College Writings on Date Rape
File photo of Neomi Jahangir Rao.

Washington: Prominent Indian-American attorney Neomi Rao, nominated by President Donald Trump for the powerful DC Circuit Court of Appeals, has apologised for the "insensitivity" in her college days articles on date rape and sexual assault.

Rao, who could replace Brett Kavanaugh on the the US' second-most powerful court, came under fire during her confirmation hearing last week over op-eds she wrote as an undergraduate at Yale, the Politico reported.

In an article on date rape, Rao, 45, wrote that if a woman drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice."

In a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Lindsey Graham and its ranking member, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Rao wrote that she had failed to recognise at the time how her remarks could be viewed as offensive, and she described herself as a "sheltered" college student.

"I particularly regret the insensitivity demonstrated in my remarks on rape and sexual assault, she wrote.

While responding to events and debates on campus, I failed to recognise the hurt that my words would cause a survivor of such crimes. I recognise now the arguments I made might discourage a victim from coming forward or from seeking help.

Rao, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which reviews executive branch regulations, also touted her parents' history working with organisations that combat domestic abuse.

In her letter, Rao wrote that her late mother had been on the board of First Step, a woman's centre in Michigan that seeks to combat domestic and sexual violence. She added that her father continued this work on the board of Mai Family Services, which focuses on preventing domestic abuse in the South Asian community.

As a society we should create an environment where survivors feel empowered and comfortable coming forward, Rao wrote. I am sorry for anything in my college writings to the contrary.

Born to Zerin Rao and Jehangir Narioshang Rao, both Parsi physicians from India, Rao grew up in Michigan.

During her confirmation hearing, Rao came under particular scrutiny from Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, one of two Republican women on the Judiciary Committee and the only woman in Republican leadership. Ernst told Bloomberg News last month that she was raped in college.

Although Rao emphasised at her hearing that she had matured since college, Monday's letter offered a more forceful apology.

If I were to address these issues now, she wrote, I would have more empathy and perspective.

If the Senate confirms Rao, she would be the second Indian-American judge in the DC Circuit Court after judge Sree Srinivasan, who was appointed during the previous Obama regime.

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