Hermiston native Ryan Bounds will not become a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell withdrew his nomination shortly before a scheduled vote on Thursday.
McConnell did not appear to have enough votes, according to national media outlets, after Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina expressed reservations.
Bounds’ nomination had come under fire after the liberal advocacy group Alliance for Justice brought to light college writings from the Stanford Review in the mid-1990s, when he criticized student groups for ethnic minorities, mocked the idea of “sensitivity” after a gay pride statue was vandalized and argued that universities should not discipline students accused of sexual assault unless it was proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
After the Alliance for Justice report Bounds apologized for the “overheated” writings and said they did not represent the views he held as a grown-up. But Democratic senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley declined to return a “blue slip” of approval customary from home-state senators and took to the Senate floor last week to speak out against Bounds’ nomination.
Bounds, who graduated from Hermiston High School, drew local support and endorsements when he was nominated. Mayor David Drotzmann said in an email Thursday night that it was “unfortunate” to hear Bounds was being pulled from consideration as a “victim of the ugly, partisan politics” in Washington, D.C.
“The senate had an opportunity to appoint a good person to the 9th circuit with a long history of great, and moderate decisions,” he wrote. “Hermistonians and all Oregonians lost today. A circuit court justice should be able to interpret the spirit of the law that best respects the points of view of ALL people in that region. Mr Bounds would have done that fairly and honestly.”