Mitch McConnell withdraws key Trump judge nominee over racially insensitive writings

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell withdrew a high ranking judicial nominee from the floor on Thursday after some Republicans would not vote for his confirmation.
  • Ryan Bounds, an assistant US attorney from Oregon, had withheld writings from college that contained racial slurs and other insensitive remarks.

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell withdrew a judicial nominee for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday after it became apparent not enough Republicans were willing to vote for his confirmation.

Ryan Wesley Bounds, an assistant US Attorney of Oregon, had been revealed to have withheld writings that were racially insensitive while an undergraduate at Stanford University. The writings, which contained racist remarks and slurs against other groups, imperiled President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Ninth Circuit.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, was not willing to vote for Bounds on Thursday, prompting McConnell to announce that “the nomination will be withdrawn.”

Scott’s opposition had support from some of his colleagues as well, indicating the nomination did not have a foreseeable path to success.

In addition, Democrats had been railing against Bounds in the days leading up to the standoff in the Senate. Both senators from Bounds’ home state of Oregon, Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, refused to return the standard blue slips for judicial nominees in his case.

“No judge until now has ever been confirmed by this body not having received a single blue slip by a home-state senator,” Merkley said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Immediately after McConnell took Bounds’ nomination off the floor, Matt House, a spokesman Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, emailed to reporters that the important role that past writings played in this nomination should be mirrored in the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s pick to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy.

“Republicans just sunk the Bounds nomination based on his college writings. After that, how are they going to argue that Judge Kavanaugh’s White House papers aren’t relevant to his nomination to the Supreme Court?” House wrote. “A lower court nominee’s college writings are relevant but a Supreme Court nominee’s White House writings aren’t? I don’t think so.”

Bounds would have been the 24th appeals judge confirmed during Trump’s presidency.

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