Lessons from Kavanaugh replacement hearing – Democrats are clueless about conservative women

The women's movement was on display at this week's State of the Union address as Democrat Congresswomen wore suffragette white to celebrate their solidarity and New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrated the resistance to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by making the Kavanaugh protestor who cornered then-Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator her guest.  One would expect that these same Democratic women would be similarly excited that a woman has been nominated for Kavanaugh's now empty seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

But just the opposite was true when the Senate Judiciary Committee met Tuesday to hear from Neomi Rao, the D.C. Circuit nominee. I'd like to say I was surprised but Rao is a conservative and, on the Hill, the #MeToo movement is about partisan politics rather than about women.

Rao was given the highest rating (“well-qualified”) by the liberal American Bar Association – a higher rating than Justice Elena Kagan received when nominated to the same court in 1999 – and should be a non-contentious choice. A former Supreme Court clerk, she was recently confirmed by the Senate as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in 2017 and was previously the founder and director of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University's law school.

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The D.C. Circuit hears the largest share of cases related to administrative law and regulatory agencies, so Rao is the perfect fit.

The problem for Democrats is that the D.C. Circuit, often called “the second highest court in the land”, is a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. Of the nine justices currently on the Supreme Court, four have come from the D.C. Circuit. Democrats see Rao, a minority woman, as a contender for the next Supreme Court vacancy and are determined to wound her in advance.

This is nothing new. An irony of Democrats' judicial confirmation politics is that their efforts to thwart nominations deliberately and disproportionately impact stellar minority and female nominees. Just ask Miguel Estrada or Janice Rogers Brown.

The feminist left hates the fact that conservative women think for themselves. Feminists would prefer to do the thinking for them. It’s a sentiment that is anti-progressive in every possible way.

In their thirst to bloody or defeat Rao, Democrats are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Consider that their primary ammunition against Rao is an op-ed she wrote in college – more than two decades ago – that gave fellow students some practical advice: don’t drink too much because it will make you more susceptible to sexual assault. This is being used to portray Rao as a “rape apologist.”

This accusation couldn’t be further from the truth. In the same article, Rao twice reiterated that rape is a crime and that a man who rapes a drunk woman should be prosecuted – a clear statement that rapists are to blame for rape.

Judiciary Committee member Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor, should find this statement unambiguous. Instead, Harris asked several accusatory variations of the question: “Do you believe if a woman does not take those steps that she is at fault?” She later attacked Rao via social media clips of the exchanges. Other women on the Committee, such as Mazie Hirono, questioned Rao with a similarly accusatory tone.

If their attacks on Rao strike you as unseemly, remember that the identity politics of the #MeToo movement condones and even celebrates throwing women who get in the way under the bus.

Last year may have been celebrated as the “Year of the Woman” due to the record-breaking number of women running for office. But as with the Democrat-only celebration at the State of the Union, a large group of women -- those without liberal viewpoints -- weren’t invited to the party. Naomi Rao knows this all too well and so do I.

Last year, when I expressed my support of Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of sexual assault allegations – focusing on the unethical actions of Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers and the harm they were doing to the women’s movement – Kavanaugh's opponents (primarily women) engaged in personal attacks against me. Some even wrote that I should be assaulted myself. To them, my arguments didn’t matter; only my politics did.

The feminist left hates the fact that conservative women think for themselves. Feminists would prefer to do the thinking for them. It’s a sentiment that is anti-progressive in every possible way.

Despite what prominent figures on the left would have you believe, conservative women aren’t men disguised as women, nor are their minds not fully formed, nor are they are being pressured by the men in their lives. Conservative women are women too.

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The female senators attacking Rao proudly display their feminist label and are surely aware that the early suffrage movement was held back by divisions among women. That makes it all the more unconscionable that, through their political posturing, Rao's opponents are adding to the growing divide among women that endangers the basic mission of the women's movement.

The Senate should confirm Neomi Rao and send a strong signal that undermining the women's movement with baseless attacks against conservative women for partisan gain will not be tolerated.