April 8, 2017

EXCELLENT CHOICE: White House names Neomi Rao as next ‘regulatory czar.’

Prior to joining the faculty at the Scalia Law School, Rao worked in the White House counsel’s office in the George W. Bush administration and as a staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She worked for Clifford Chance in London and clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Rao also serves as a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States and is co-chair of the Regulatory Policy Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.

Trump’s selection of Rao suggests the administration is serious about regulatory reform, not merely reducing high-profile regulatory burdens. The selection of a well-respected administrative law expert further suggests the administration recognizes the need to be attentive to legal constraints on administrative action and that meaningful reforms require more than issuing a few executive orders. Rao is a superlative pick.

As Abner Mikva later reflected (gloated?) one reason why so many Reagan Revolution reforms foundered in the courts was insufficient attention to the niceties of administrative law. I’m glad to see that the Trump Administration is taking the right steps to avoid that error.