- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2020

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who famously penned a legal brief telling the Supreme Court it’s unwell, took to Twitter on Thursday to criticize a Trump-appointed federal appeals court judge who will oversee former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s case, calling her a “cartoon.”

Judge Neomi Rao is one of three judges on a panel handling Flynn’s case.

The judicial panel recently ordered U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who has been handling Flynn’s case, to respond by the end of the month about why he declined to dismiss the case against Flynn after the Justice Department dropped the prosecution, which had stemmed from Flynn lying to the FBI during its probe on Russian election interference.

“Where you see Neomi Rao, you can expect a lot of Trumpy dirt to follow. She’s a cartoon of a fake judge. Watch this space,” the Rhode Island Democrat said on Twitter.

His comment drew pushback from Sen. Mike Lee, who like Mr. Whitehouse sits on the Judiciary Committee.

“Not cool, Sheldon. Judge Rao is a gifted, hard-working legal scholar and jurist. I know you disagree with her here — and I strongly disagree with you on that point — but is it ever appropriate to call a sitting jurist ‘a cartoon of a fake judge’? I can’t think of a good reason. Ever,” the Utah Republican fired back.

Judge Rao was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in March of 2019 to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh after he was confirmed to the high court.

Mr. Sheldon also drew criticism last year from his GOP colleagues for drafting an amicus brief, warning the Supreme Court it is unwell and should not hear a Second Amendment case.

He suggested if the justices decided to take up the challenge, the Supreme Court would be reworked — potentially by expanding the number of justices on the bench — since it would appear partisan.

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