White House Withdraws Controversial Judicial Nominee Ryan Bounds

Ryan Bounds

The White House has withdrawn the nomination of Ryan Bounds, who has a history of writings that struck many observers as racist, sexist, and anti-LGBT, to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

A confirmation vote on Bounds was expected today, but instead his nomination was pulled after it appeared that he would receive insufficient support, even from Republicans. Tim Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, said he would not vote for Bounds, and another Republican, Marco Rubio, also expressed concerns, and as many as 15 or 20 other GOPers indicated they might defect, according to CNN.

“The concerns revolved around the content of his writings while at Stanford and the fact that Bounds did not disclose the writings to a bipartisan committee of attorneys in Oregon that had recommended him for Ninth Circuit job,” CNN reports.

Bounds, currently a federal prosecutor in Oregon, was opinion editor for The Stanford Review, an independent student newspaper, when he attended the California university. He criticized groups for African-American students and those of other minority races, saying their efforts to promote inclusivity “seem always to contribute more to restricting consciousness, aggravating intolerance, and pigeonholing cultural identities than many a Nazi bookburning,” in one article, according to the Alliance for Justice, a progressive group.

He also wrote that Stanford should not allow such “race-focused groups” because the “existence of ethnic organizations is no inevitable prerequisite to maintaining a diverse community — white students, after all, seem to be doing all right without an Aryan Student Union.”

He criticized LGBT students for “Sensitivity,” with a capital S, after a statue that celebrated LGBT Pride was vandalized on campus. He noted that the vandals would likely face mandatory sensitivity training, which he said contributes to “fissures” in the community.

He further wrote critically about the university’s use of a “preponderance of the evidence” standard in sexual assault cases, rather than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in the criminal justice system, and in doing so suggested that false accusations of assault are rampant, according to People for the American Way.

Progressive groups hailed the withdrawal of Bounds’s nomination but said the whole affair indicates how problematic many of Donald Trump’s judicial nominees are. “The withdrawal of Ryan Bounds should be proof that more scrutiny, more transparency, and more time must be given to review every single one of Trump’s judicial nominees, especially Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh,” said a statement issued by Sharon McGowan, legal director and chief strategy officer of Lambda Legal.”

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced the nomination of David Porter, who is up for a judgeship on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, to the full Senate, something that did not sit well with civil rights groups. He once represented Penn State University in a discrimination case brought by a lesbian basketball player, and he accused her of trying to “create new social policy” through her suit. In his hearing before the committee, he said how he would apply the law concerning sexual orientation discrimination would depend on action by Congress and the courts. He also failed to respond directly to questions about whether he supported the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which found school segregation unconstitutional. 

Tags: Politics, Law

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