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

EPPC scholars Roger Severino, Rachel N. Morrison, Dr. David Gortler, and Dr. Aaron Kheriaty have submitted a public comment opposing finalization…

 

Texas AG Adopts EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino’s Analysis on Conscience Rights of Medical School…

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton this week issued an opinion adopting an analysis by EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino regarding the…

 

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

On December 9, 2021, EPPC scholars Roger Severino and Rachel N. Morrison submitted a public comment opposing a proposal by…

 

Broad Coalition Submits Objections to HHS Proposal to Funnel Millions of Taxpayer Dollars to Abortion…

A coalition of more than twenty organizations—including leading think tanks, religious institutions, and public interest medical, legal, and advocacy groups—are submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) objecting to HHS’s proposed rule that would funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to abortion providers by undoing a Trump-era regulation that ensured separation between Title X funded programs and abortion activities.

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Media Advisory: Press conference on objections to HHS proposed Title X rule funneling money to…

On Monday, May 17, EPPC will host a virtual press conference with leading advocates to discuss proposed action by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to overturn Title X regulations that require physical and financial separation between abortion activities and Title X projects.

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EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino Comments on “Lawless Action” By HHS Secretary Becerra

EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino comments on Secretary Xavier Becerra’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will immediately begin enforcing prohibitions on “sex” discrimination in health care under Section 1557 of Obamacare to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

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EPPC’s Roger Severino: Today’s Hearing Was Devastating for Xavier Becerra’s Nomination

EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino, who directs EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project, offered comments on today’s hearing for Xavier Becerra’s nomination for HHS Secretary. Mr. Severino served as Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2017 to 2021.

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EPPC Scholars Sound Alarm on Becerra Nomination, Warn of Threats to Life, Conscience, and Religious…

EPPC President Ryan T. Anderson and EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino, who directs EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project, commented on next week’s scheduled confirmation hearing for Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services, warning that Becerra’s confirmation would threaten essential life, conscience, and religious liberty protections achieved under the Trump administration.

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EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino Sues President Biden Over Unlawful Attempted Removal from Independent Agency

EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino on Wednesday filed suit in federal court seeking to prevent President Biden from removing him from the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) before the expiration of his three-year term as provided by law. Mr. Severino, the head of the HHS Civil Rights Office from March 2017 until January of this year, was appointed by President Trump to the ACUS Council in August of 2020 and reappointed in January 2021.

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Roger Severino, Transformational Former Director of HHS Office for Civil Rights, to Join EPPC as…

The Ethics and Public Policy Center today announced the appointment of Roger Severino as a Senior Fellow focused on health care policy, the administrative state, religious liberty, and civil rights. Mr. Severino will direct EPPC’s new “HHS Accountability Project,” which will monitor the Biden administration for actions that threaten quality healthcare and civil rights for all Americans, from conception to natural death.

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