Liberal advocacy groups have mobilized in opposition to Ryan Bounds, President Donald Trump’s first nominee to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Though criticisms of his professional record are slim thus far, progressive interest groups claim his undergraduate writings are highly inflammatory, such that his temperament might be questioned.
The Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a progressive advocacy organization, reviewed dozens of pieces Bounds wrote as a college student for a conservative weekly called the Stanford Review, that are intensely critical of student activist clubs and campus multiculturalism policies. Taken together, the Alliance says his writings betray an intolerant worldview.
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“Race-focused groups foster race-think, and the only way to rid our multicultural community of race-think is to rid it of these invidious factions,” he wrote in one opinion piece, referring to such campus groups as the black student union.
AFJ also noted the Review used a caricature of an American Indian in an editorial section called “Smoke Signals” during Bounds’ tenure on the masthead. It is not clear if the image was incorporated at Bounds’ direction.
“Once again the Trump administration has given us a nominee for the federal bench, Ryan Bounds, who has made intolerant and outrageous remarks about people with backgrounds and beliefs different from his,” said Nan Aron, AFJ’s president. “The pattern of racist, sexist and homophobic remarks by these nominees is unacceptable, and we urge the Senate to treat this behavior as disqualifying for a federal judgeship.”
AFJ has produced several highly misleading dossiers respecting Trump’s nominees. The group has not produced any materials relating to Bounds’ post-undergraduate career.
After graduating from Stanford and Yale Law School, Bounds clerked for Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, a conservative icon on the 9th Circuit. He practiced at a prominent law firm in Portland, Ore., before joining the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy, where he served for six years. He has been a federal prosecutor in Oregon since 2010.
As a career employee of the Justice Department, he has served under presidents of both parties.
Bounds was tapped for one of Oregon’s seats on the 9th Circuit. The state’s Democratic senators, Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both oppose his nomination. The Senate Judiciary Committee generally does not schedule a confirmation hearing if senators representing the state where the particular judicial vacancy occurs oppose the nomination. GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who chairs the committee, has not yet scheduled a hearing for Bounds, though one could come later in the year.
There are currently five vacancies on the 9th Circuit, according to the U.S. Judicial Conference.
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