Friday, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Neomi Rao to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget, the most important position which you may not have heard of before. This is an excellent choice.
Rao is an associate professor of law and the founding director of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State (CSAS) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School (where I am also a senior fellow). Under Rao’s leadership, CSAS has been the home of numerous programs and symposia sponsoring and presenting important scholarship on administrative law, including a forthcoming program on “Rethinking Due Process.” Prior programs have considered the vitality of Chevron deference, regulation of the financial sector and environmental law, among other subjects.
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.
The Hill has more on the announcement here.