Today, Trump judicial nominee Ryan Bounds was withdrawn by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after Sen. Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, indicated he wouldn’t vote for the judge’s appointment because of writings discovered from Bounds’ college years.
This is an extremely rare move for a Senate which has approved a record number of judicial nominees during Donald Trump’s time as president. Bounds was nominated to serve on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bounds’ writings as an undergraduate at Stanford University in The Stanford Review came to light thanks to a report by Alliance for Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy group.
According to the Daily Beast, it was the decision of Senator Tim Scott that led to the withdrawal.
According to a GOP source familiar with the matter, Scott, the only black Republican senator, raised concerns to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) about Ryan Bounds’ college writings which allegedly included racially charged comments and other controversial statements.
Rubio, the source said, pledged to vote against Bounds alongside Scott, and “more Republicans [were] heading to ‘no’” on the nomination as a result.
During his May confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Bounds apologized for some of his undergraduate rhetoric:
“I certainly apologize for the often highhanded and overheated tone I often resorted to in commenting about campus politic,” he told the committee. “The intentions behind those articles were always to seek greater tolerance and mutual understanding on campus—that was always my aim.”
That’s a bit hard to believe when you read his actual words. The writings, which range in subject matter from sexual assault to multiculturalism, are typical anti-PC conservative opinions. He’s outraged at Stanford’s budget benefitting any student groups based on race or progressive politics, and scoffs at the “sensitivity” of students offended by the vandalism of a gay pride statue.
In one column from 1995, Bounds attacked multiculturalism and what he termed “race-think”:
I submit that the Multiculturalistas, when they divide up by race for their feel-good ethnic hoedowns, engage in nearly all of [the fundamental behaviors of group think].
Multiculturalists band together not into tight cliques of mutual interests and complementary powers, but rather into social clubs of ostensibly common racial heritage.
In a 1994 piece, he argued against a new policy aimed at making it easier for students to report sexual assault:
There is really nothing inherently wrong with the University failing to punish an alleged rapist—regardless of his guilt—in the absence of adequate certainty, there is nothing the University can do to objectively ensure the rapist does not strike again. Expelling students is probably not going to contribute a great deal toward a rape victim’s recovery; there is no moral imperative to risk egregious error in doing so.
The only thing that’s surprising about this situation—a Trump nominee who has expressed racist and misogynist views in the past—is that Senate Republicans decided they needed to sink his nomination. It’s doubtless that many of them agree with these sentiments; most of Bounds’ writings, after all, could be copy-pasted into the New York Times’ op-ed section without anyone noticing. But for some reason, this time, Republicans were not willing to get in line.