Ryan Bounds, the U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, and one of the more controversial judicial nominees put forward by President Donald Trump, has withdrawn for consideration for a seat on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday, Bounds overcame a procedural vote that allowed him to remain in consideration, and was due for a final vote at 1:45 p.m. today. That did not happen. At approximately 2:30 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the final vote had been cancelled.
At first glance, it appeared as if McConnell had killed the vote due to lack of support, which would have been the case, however evidence began surfacing that forcing Bounds through might making getting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh through his process more difficult, as posited by the L.A. Times. Re-visiting the issue of support, the GOP found themselves in a position in which they lacked the votes to push Trump’s nominee through. At least one Republican senator stated that he could not vote for Bounds, at least not right now.
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) informed party leadership this morning that he needed more time to review a history of Bounds’ writings and talk to people who know him before he could vote for him. With Republicans holding a 51-49 advantage in the senate, and Scott not willing to vote for Bounds, and John McCain not available to vote, that was enough to kill the vote had it come to that. No Democrats were expected to vote in favor of Bounds, according to The Hill.
Ryan Bounds was a judicial nominee that was controversial from the start. The Alliance For Justice (AFJ) pointed out that due to his connection to Republican Congressmen Greg Walden, whose chief of staff is Bounds’ sister, he could be subject to bias on certain policy, particularly regarding immigration. Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee under former President Obama made it clear they did not find him suitable for the bench due to his writings which dated back to his collegiate career.
The AFJ documents those writings as being racially insensitive. Bounds called for an end to any ethnically-centered groups on campus, and likened them to “feel good hoedowns.” He wrote that racial tolerance programs lead to intolerance. He sprinkled his writings with racist and offensive language, once penning that some communities on campus believed that the “opponent is the white male and his coterie of meanspirited lackeys: ‘oreos,’ ‘twinkies,’ ‘coconuts,’ and the like.” His writings stated he saw no point in expelling students guilty of sexual assault on campus, as it would do little to aid in victim recovery.
As editor of The Stanford Review, he used an image of a Native American on the opinion page in each edition deemed racially insensitive. He further also took issue with LGBT people and other minority groups. describing sensitivity toward them as a “pestilence” that “stalks us” and “threatens to corrupt our scholastic experience,” according to AFJ.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Bounds had failed to disclose these writings when he was being vetted for a judicial appointment in Oregon.
“Ryan Bounds is the author of offensive material about people of color, rape survivors, LGBTQ people and others — material he hid from Oregon’s judicial selection commission in an attempt to evade thorough vetting.”
There were more roadblocks in the way of Bounds. Neither senator from his home state, Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, returned a “blue slip” on Bounds, which would be the equivalent of them giving approval for his nomination. In 101 years, no one has ever been appointed without the support of at least one of their state senators, according to The Hill. No one has been put forward as a new potential nominee as of yet.