Roger Severino

Senior Fellow

Roger Severino is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he directs 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 directs 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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VIDEO: Roger Severino Discusses Faith, Life, Law and More on Veritas Dialogues Series

January 25, 2022 | Veritas Dialogues

On January 25, 2022, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on the Veritas Dialogues video series, hosted by University of…

AUDIO: Roger Severino Discusses Vaccine Mandates on Newsweek’s “The Debate” Podcast

January 25, 2022 | Newsweek - The Debate podcast

On January 25, 2022, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on Newsweek’s “The Debate” podcast to discuss the merits of…

AUDIO: Roger Severino on SCOTUS Oral Argument on OSHA Vaccine Mandate

January 11, 2022 | Issues, Etc. podcast

On January 11, 2022, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on the Issues, Etc. podcast to discuss Supreme Court oral…

VIDEO: Roger Severino on Catholic Hospitals Heading to Court Over HHS Transgender Mandate

December 16, 2021 | EWTN News Nightly

On December 16, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on EWTN News Nightly to discuss a case involving Catholic…

AUDIO: Roger Severino Discusses SCOTUS Ruling on Texas Heartbeat Act on Issues, Etc. Podcast

December 10, 2021 | Issues, Etc. podcast

On December 10, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on the Issues, Etc. podcast to discuss the Supreme Court’s…

AUDIO: Roger Severino Discusses Dobbs on Issues, Etc. Podcast

December 1, 2021 | Issues, Etc. Podcast

On December 1, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on the Issues, Etc. podcast to discuss oral arguments in…

AUDIO: Roger Severino Discusses Religious Liberty, Abortion on Texas Values Report

November 23, 2021 | Texas Values Report

On November 23, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on the Texas Values Report podcast to discuss the pro-life…

AUDIO: Roger Severino Discusses HHS, Conscience Rights on Drew Mariani Show

November 22, 2021 | The Drew Mariani Show

On November 22, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on the Drew Mariani Show to discuss the fight for…

VIDEO: Roger Severino Laments That HHS is Expected to Roll Back Trump-Era Religious Liberty Protections

November 17, 2021 | Washington Watch with Tony Perkins

On November 17, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino joined Washington Watch with Tony Perkins to discuss a new memo…

VIDEO: Roger Severino Calls Out Biden Admin for Improperly Using Emergency Rule Provision to Push Mandates

November 8, 2021 | Washington Watch with Tony Perkins

On November 8, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins to discuss the Biden…

AUDIO: Roger Severino on Defending Conscience Rights in Healthcare

August 27, 2021 | "Religious Freedom Matters" podcast

On August 27, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow (and director of the Center’s new HHS Accountability Project) Roger Severino joined Andrea…

VIDEO: Roger Severino Joins EWTN Pro-Life Weekly to Discuss Conscience Rights Case

August 12, 2021 | EWTN Pro-Life Weekly

On August 12, 2021 EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly to discuss the Department of Justice’s…