RELEASE: Senator Hawley’s “Fauxriginalist” Rationale on Rao
WASHINGTON – Following the explanation this morning by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) of his vote on the nomination of Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Constitutional Accountability Center Vice President for Public Engagement Praveen Fernandes issued the following statement:
Today, Senator Hawley voted with his Republican Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues to advance to the Senate floor the nomination of Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In justifying his vote, Senator Hawley said that Ms. Rao gave him assurances that she would interpret the Constitution according to its text and history.
True fidelity to the history and text of the whole Constitution—including the many amendments that have allowed us to realize more fully our nation’s great promise—requires understanding the document’s steady movement toward greater inclusion and more meaningful equality, an undeniably progressive arc. So, if Senator Hawley thinks—as we suspect he does given his views on such issues as reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality—that fidelity to the Constitution’s text and history leads only to conservative results, he is seriously mistaken. We would have no quarrel with originalism, fairly applied. It is Hawley’s brand of what we call “fauxriginalism”—a selective application and distortion of the Constitution’s text, history and values to achieve conservative results—that we oppose.
Frankly, we would welcome a true commitment to the text, history, and values of the whole Constitution, but after examining Ms. Rao’s record, we find it lacking.
CAC letter of opposition to Rao nomination, February 28, 2019: https://www.theusconstitution.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/CAC-Rao-Letter-of-Opposition-to-Full-Senate.pdf
“Originalism, Fauxriginalism, and Embracing the Constitution,” Praveen Fernandes, February 7, 2019: https://www.theusconstitution.org/blog/originalism-fauxriginalism-and-embracing-the-constitution/
Link to Fauxriginalism graphic: https://www.theusconstitution.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Fauxriginalism_blogimage-1.png
Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.