US President Donald Trump has sent the nomination of Neomi Rao, a prominent Indian-American attorney and academic, to the Senate to replace Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the powerful DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
If confirmed by the Senate, Ms Rao, who is 45, would be able to serve a lifetime post on the DC court, largely considered the second highest court of the land and a training ground for future Supreme Court justices.
If the Senate confirms her, she would be the second Indian-American judge in the DC Circuit Court after judge Sree Srinivasan, who was appointed during the previous Obama regime.
Ms Rao's nomination was sent to the Senate yesterday.
President Trump, during Diwali celebrations on November 13 at the historic Roosevelt Room of the White House, announced the surprise nomination of the 45-year-old regulatory czar for the DC Circuit.
He appeared delighted to jump ahead of yesterday's planned announcement to nominate Ms Rao, saying it was potentially the "biggest story" of the day.
"We were going to announce that tomorrow," President Trump told a crowd of Indian-American members of his administration at the White House. "And I said, you know, 'Here we are, Neomi, we're never going to do better than this.'"
"She's going to be fantastic," President Trump added. "Great person."
Last month Mr Kavanaugh, 53, was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice. He has been embroiled in a bitter battle to stave off claims of sexual assault, which he denies.
Ms Rao, who currently serves as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), is a vocal advocate of President Trump's efforts to slash government regulations, crediting the reductions with stimulating job growth, The Hill reported.
In her current role, Ms Rao has played a key role in regulatory reform, which according to the White House saved American families and businesses $23 billion in fiscal year-2018 by getting rid of unduly burdensome and unnecessary regulation.
As per the findings, released by the OIRA last month, Federal Agencies issued 176 deregulatory actions.
Prior to her service as OIRA Administrator, Ms Rao was a professor of structural constitutional law, administrative law, and legislation and statutory interpretation at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.
Ms Rao founded the Law School's Center for the Study of the Administrative State and focused her scholarship on the political and constitutional accountability of administrative agencies and the role of Congress.
She has previously served in all three branches of the federal government, and before taking on her current role in the executive branch, she was associate counsel and special assistant to the president for the George W Bush administration.
She also served as counsel to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where she was responsible for judicial nominations and constitutional law issues.
A graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School, Ms Rao also worked in the private sector, in the international arbitration group of the London-based law firm, Clifford Chance LLP.
Born to Zerin Rao and Jehangir Narioshang Rao, both Parsi physicians from India, Ms Rao grew up in Michigan and did her schooling from Detroit High School. She is married to Alan Lefkowitz and the couple has two children.
The South Asian Bar Association welcomed the nomination of Ms Rao.
"Congratulations to Neomi Rao on her nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit," it said.
The DC Circuit Court has served as a launching pad for other Supreme Court justices in addition to Mr Kavanaugh, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia.
Due to its location, the court often hears cases challenging federal government actions, including agency rulemakings, US media reported.
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