Roger Severino

Senior Fellow

Roger Severino is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he works on EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project. Mr. Severino is a national authority on civil rights, conscience and religious freedom, the administrative state, and information privacy, particularly as applied to health care law and policy. He is a regular contributor to National Review Online and tweets at @RogerSeverino_.

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Roger Severino is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he works on EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project. Mr. Severino is a national authority on civil rights, conscience and religious freedom, the administrative state, and information privacy, particularly as applied to health care law and policy. He is a regular contributor to National Review Online and tweets at @RogerSeverino_.

Before joining EPPC, Mr. Severino was the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OCR), where he led a team of over 250 staff enforcing our nation’s civil rights, conscience and religious freedom, and health information privacy laws. He served from 2017 to 2021 and was the longest serving OCR Director of the past three decades.

Prior to joining HHS, Mr. Severino served for two years as Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, advocating for life, family, and religious-freedom policies. Before that, he was a trial attorney for seven years at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division where he enforced the Fair Housing Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mr. Severino started his legal career at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, where he was Legal Counsel and Chief Operations Officer and defended the rights of people of all faiths under federal and international law.

Mr. Severino has been profiled in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and The Hill and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS, among others. In 2020 The New York Times dubbed him and his wife Carrie, “a conservative power couple” to be reckoned with.

Mr. Severino holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a master’s degree in public policy, with highest distinction, from Carnegie Mellon University, and a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern California. He was appointed by President Trump to the Administrative Conference of the United States and is a member of the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia bars.

As OCR Director, Mr. Severino founded the federal government’s first Division dedicated exclusively to conscience and religious freedom compliance and enforcement. He enforced the Weldon Amendment for the first time against a state (California) after it coerced families and religious organizations into paying for abortion insurance coverage, leading to a $200 million federal funding disallowance. He also enforced laws protecting pro-life pregnancy resource centers from discrimination by states hostile to their message and enforced laws prohibiting forced participation in abortions by medical professionals.

With respect to civil rights, Mr. Severino protected older persons and people with disabilities from being denied life-saving care due to discriminatory “quality of life” judgments, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also achieved a landmark sexual harassment resolution with Michigan State University in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal and protected the rights of non-English speakers to have equal access to health and human services.

In the area of health privacy, he secured the largest HIPAA monetary settlement in history and achieved the largest number of enforcement resolutions both in a single year and across four years. He also facilitated the transformational use of Skype, Zoom, and Facetime for delivery of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

His regulatory reform activities resulted in a comprehensive conscience protection regulation and proposed a life-affirming disability rights regulation. He achieved regulatory savings of $3.6 billion in health care industry costs over five years and identified and proposed an additional $3.2 billion in cost savings from the repeal of ineffective and unnecessary regulatory burdens.

Mr. Severino is a Spanish speaker who teaches salsa and west coast swing in his spare time.

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EPPC Scholars Submit Public Comment Opposing HHS Section 1557 Proposed Transgender Mandate in Healthcare

Rachel N. Morrison

It will be the height of arbitrariness and capriciousness to finalize such a dangerous rule in the face of these and the many other grave harms identified in this comment when they are not only not mandated by Congress, but go against the very statute the Proposed Rule purports to enforce.

Articles

/ October 3, 2022

A Couple’s Long Journey in the Pro-Life Movement

Roger Severino

As the fall of Roe v. Wade rocked the country, Carrie and Roger Severino celebrated the realization of decades of…

Articles

The New York Times / June 28, 2022

How to Battle Biden’s Regulatory Leviathan and Win (Even on LGBT Issues)

Roger Severino

It seems like every other week, a new gender-identity announcement has come out of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Articles

National Review Online / May 3, 2022

EPPC Scholars Meet with Federal Officials to Discuss Concerns over Anticipated Section 1557 Rulemaking

Roger Severino

EPPC’s Roger Severino and Rachel N. Morrison met with HHS officials to discuss concerns over a new rule that could redefine standards of care by requiring doctors to perform experimental transgender surgeries (including on minors) against their ethical and medical judgment, and by requiring insurance plans to pay for such dangerous interventions.

 

EPPC Scholars Meet with Federal Officials to Discuss Concerns over Proposed Rescission of Health Care Conscience…

Rachel N. Morrison

EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project Scholars Senior Fellow Roger Severino and Fellow Rachel N. Morrison met with federal government officials to discuss concerns over an upcoming proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services that would rescind health care conscience regulations.

 

An Open Letter to HHS Secretary Becerra on Ending the Covid-19 Public Health “Emergency”

Ryan T. Anderson

Human flourishing requires both public health and individual liberty and an appropriate balance between these goods when they conflict. We know that human beings flourish in community; we are social by nature. As such, we should not be surprised that government Covid-19 regulations mandating school closures, lockdowns, masking, and vaccination have isolated us from our fellow citizens and imposed significant attendant harms. It is time to declare this emergency over and once again let people take responsibility for themselves.

Public Discourse / March 18, 2022

Is Your Neighbor a Covid-Information Terrorist? Are You? DHS Wants to Know

Roger Severino

Rational people will still wonder how Covid information — even if false, outdated, or taken out of context — has anything remotely to do with terrorism.

Articles

National Review Online / February 14, 2022

EPPC Scholars Submit Public Comment Opposing HHS’s Proposed Insurance Mandate for Transgender Puberty-Blocking Drugs, Cross-Sex…

Ryan T. Anderson

On January 27, 2022, EPPC scholars Ryan T. Anderson, Roger Severino, Rachel N. Morrison, and Mary Rice Hasson submitted a public…

Articles

 

EPPC Scholars Submit Public Comment Opposing OSHA’s Unlawful Vaccine Mandate

Roger Severino

EPPC scholars Roger Severino, Rachel N. Morrison, Dr. David Gortler, and Dr. Aaron Kheriaty submitted a public comment opposing finalization of OSHA’s rule that would mandate COVID-19 vaccination in workplaces.

Articles

Publications / January 20, 2022

EPPC Scholars Submit Public Comment Opposing Proposal to Eliminate Protections for Faith-Based Contractors

Roger Severino

EPPC scholars Roger Severino and Rachel N. Morrison submitted a public comment opposing a proposal by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to rescind various protections for faith-based contractors that allow them to partner with the federal government and serve the American people without having to abandon tenets of their faith or their religious identity.

Articles

Publications / December 10, 2021

EPPC Scholar Letter on “Grave Religious Liberty and Fairness Interests at Stake” in Bill to…

Roger Severino

EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino submitted a letter for the official record at the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee of House Committee on Education and Labor, for its hearing “A Call to Action: Modernizing the Community Services Block Grant.” The letter addresses the “grave religious liberty and fairness interests at stake” in a proposal to reauthorize the CSBG program.

Articles

 

In OSHA We Trust?

Roger Severino

The administration is exploiting a little-used OSHA ‘emergency’ standard to do its dirty work of coercing millions of Americans to get vaxxed.

Articles

National Review Online / October 28, 2021