No Apol­ogy Nec­es­sary From Trump Nom­i­nee

El Dorado News-Times - - Viewpoint - RICH MANIERI

What with Vir­ginia Gov. Ralph Northam's cos­tume party, the State of the Union ad­dress, and the so-called "Green New Deal" that will have us all heat­ing our houses with Sweet Tarts in 10 years, you might be miss­ing some­thing im­por­tant that's go­ing on in Wash­ing­ton.

It's the con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing for Neomi Rao, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's nom­i­nee to re­place Supreme Court Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh on the D.C. Court of Ap­peals.

Rao is qual­i­fied for the job - a Yale grad­u­ate, Univer­sity of Chicago Law School, clerked for Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas. She's cur­rently head of U.S. Of­fice of In­for­ma­tion and Reg­u­la­tory Af­fairs. She has a ster­ling rep­u­ta­tion. And Democrats hate her.

Why?

Be­cause she's a con­ser­va­tive and the D.C. court is im­por­tant.

On Tues­day, Sen. Cory "I am Spar­ta­cus" Booker, who sits on the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, didn't ex­actly cover him­self in glory while ques­tion­ing Rao.

"Have you ever had any LGBTQ law clerks?" Booker asked.

The ques­tion, which re­ferred to an ar­ti­cle Rao wrote while an un­der­grad at Yale, didn't trig­ger the re­sponse for which Booker had hoped. In fact, it back­fired spec­tac­u­larly.

Rao an­swered that be­cause she had never been a judge, she's never had any law clerks.

Booker then at­tempted to re­cover and asked if she's ever had an LGBTQ em­ploy­ees.

"To be hon­est I don't know the sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion of my staff," Rao re­sponded which, of course, was the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse to such a ridicu­lous ques­tion.

By the way, Supreme Court Jus­tice Elena Ka­gan, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama's se­lec­tion, had never been a judge ei­ther be­fore her nom­i­na­tion. There are a cou­ple of things go­ing on here. First, it's the com­pul­sion to judge some­one's char­ac­ter to­day based on what they said, wrote, did or wore decades ago.

I don't know about you, but I am a vastly dif­fer­ent per­son than I was 30 years ago. I act dif­fer­ently, I think dif­fer­ently, I see the world dif­fer­ently. Peo­ple grow and change. But in to­day's toxic po­lit­i­cal cli­mate, there's lit­tle room for for­give­ness and gen­uine re­pen­tance only in­spires ridicule.

Sec­ond, this is iden­tity pol­i­tics on full dis­play and rather run­ning from this di­vi­sive ide­ol­ogy, Democrats are em­brac­ing it. How else can you ex­plain the choice of Stacy Abrams to de­liver the re­sponse to the State of the Union ad­dress?

Abrams is a ris­ing Demo­cratic star who lost the Ge­or­gia gov­er­nor's race. She re­cently wrote a piece for the jour­nal For­eign Af­fairs in which she fully en­dorsed iden­tity pol­i­tics as a nec­es­sary re­sponse to so­cial op­pres­sion.

Abrams isn't pop­u­lar among lib­er­als in spite of her stance on iden­tity pol­i­tics. She's pop­u­lar be­cause of it.

Which brings back to Rao.

One would think that mod­er­ate Democrats - if there are any - would be able to sup­port a nom­i­nee such as Rao - and In­dian-Amer­i­can woman with an im­pec­ca­ble rep­u­ta­tion. In­stead, they're do­ing what­ever they can to de­stroy her.

So, they're dig­ging into her col­lege archives. In ad­di­tion to try­ing to un­veil her as a ho­mo­phobe, she's been la­beled by the left as "an­ti­woman."

"A man who rapes a drunk girl should be pros­e­cuted. At the same time, a good way to avoid a po­ten­tial date rape is to stay rea­son­ably sober," Rao wrote as a Yale un­der­grad.

This is a prob­lem­atic pas­sage for Democrats who

some­how in­ter­pret it as an en­dorse­ment of sex­ual as­sault.

I'm not sure I see the harm in ad­vis­ing a young woman to stay sober while she's on a date. That's a long way, it seems to me, from blam­ing the vic­tim.

Still, in the hot seat, Rao of­fered the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee an ex­pla­na­tion of her col­lege writ­ings on date rape.

"To be hon­est, look­ing back at some of those writ­ings and reread­ing them, I cringe at some of the lan­guage that I used," Rao said. "I think I was re­spond­ing to things that were hap­pen­ing on cam­pus at that time and in the in­ter­ven­ing two decades, I like to think that I have ma­tured as a thinker and a writer, and in­deed as a per­son."

I have a so­lu­tion to this non­sense, one that will level the play­ing field.

How about we re­view the col­lege year­books, news­pa­pers, term pa­pers, es­says, and let­ters of ev­ery mem­ber of the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, es­pe­cially those ob­sessed with the mus­ings of Rao when she was an 18-year-old col­lege stu­dent?

That would make for in­ter­est­ing, and one might even say, "cringe­wor­thy" read­ing.

Rich Manieri is a Phil­a­del­phia-born jour­nal­ist and au­thor. He is cur­rently a pro­fes­sor of jour­nal­ism at As­bury Univer­sity in Ken­tucky. His book, "We Burn on Fri­day: A Mem­oir of My Fa­ther and Me" is avail­able at ama­zon.com. You can reach him at [email protected]

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