Trump has filled 1 in 5 appellate judgeships now that Neomi Rao has been confirmed to DC Circuit

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Neomi Rao. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a month after she apologized for insensitivity in college articles she wrote about date rape.

The Senate confirmed Rao in a 53-46 vote along party lines. She is filling the seat held by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh before his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, report Politico, the National Law Journal, Bloomberg Law and the Washington Post.

In one of the articles, Rao wrote: “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 told senators in a Feb. 11 letter that her perspective has changed. “Victims should not be blamed for the terrible things that have happened to them,” she wrote.

With Rao’s confirmation, President Donald Trump has filled 36 out of 179 appeals court seats, or 20 percent of the seats, according to Bloomberg Law.

Also confirmed this week was Lowenstein Sandler litigation partner Paul Matey, a former deputy chief counsel to then-Gov. Chris Christie New Jersey, the National Law Journal reported.

Matey will sit on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Philadelphia, shifting the court to a 7-6 majority of GOP appointees, the article said. He did not have blue slip approval from either home state senator.

The Washington Post noted that the “rapid clip of confirmations” is likely to slow in the near future “simply because the GOP will have filled all the existing vacancies on the powerful federal appeals courts.” Six nominations are pending for nine vacant appellate seats, according to the Post.

Republicans are now planning to focus on district court nominees and a planned rule change that will speed up debate, the Post said. The change would allow no more than two hours of debate after senators invoke cloture.

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