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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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…

AUDIO: Roger Severino Discusses DOJ Dropping Suit in Abortion/Conscience Rights Case

August 6, 2021 | KTTH - Jason Rantz Show

On August 6, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino joined the Jason Rantz Show to discuss the Department of Justice…

VIDEO: Roger Severino Discusses Vaccine Mandates on Fox News @ Night

August 3, 2021 | Fox News

EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino joined “Fox News @ Night” with host Shannon Bream to discuss the legality of vaccine…

VIDEO: Roger Severino Discusses Overreach of EEOC in Applying SCOTUS Bostock Ruling

June 18, 2021 | Washington Watch with Tony Perkins

On June 18, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to unpack guidelines that…

VIDEO: Roger Severino on Federalist Society Panel on Religious Liberty

May 19, 2021 | The Federalist Society

EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino took part in a panel discussion hosted by the Federalist Society exploring the approaches to religious liberty and executive action under the Biden and Trump administrations.

VIDEO/AUDIO: Roger Severino Discusses HHS Transgender Announcement on “Washington Watch” with Tony Perkins

May 10, 2021 | Washington Watch with Tony Perkins

EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to discuss the announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services that it will begin enforcing prohibitions on “sex” discrimination in health care under Section 1557 of Obamacare to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

QUOTE: Roger Severino on HHS and Transgender Health Care

May 10, 2021 | Associated Press

On May 10, 2021, EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino appeared in an Associated Press article by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar about an…