White House Pulls Circuit Court Nominee at Last Minute

Ryan Bounds nomination to 9th Circuit was set to be voted down

The nomination of Ryan Wesley Bounds for United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit was withdrawn at the last minute by the White House amid questions about his past writings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facing imminent defeat even in a Republican-controlled Senate, the White House on Thursday withdrew the nomination of Ryan Wesley Bounds to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, an abrupt turn of events just moments before the chamber was set to vote on confirmation of the judge.

The late-breaking issue appeared to be writings that came to light and turned the tide against him with some Republicans. 

“There were some writings from when he was a student at Stanford that were maybe not racially sensitive. They weren’t racist but there is some concern that the issue could have been handled with more sensitivity,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the only black Republican in the chambers, had planned to vote against the Bounds nomination. “Sen. Scott needed more time to talk to people who knew him and that’s not available. Sen. Scott said he couldn’t vote for him today if the vote was now. I support him in that decision,” Rubio said.

Scott said he spoke to Bounds in person on Thursday. “I think everybody just does their own due diligence. Unfortunately, I’m not on the Judiciary Committee so mine started later than others,” Scott said. 

“There were some objections raised by Sen. Scott that couldn’t be resolved in the short time we had, so the White House decided to withdraw the nomination rather than have the nominee lose,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said. 

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Jennifer Shutt, Niels Lesniewski, Morgan Cahn and Lauren Clason contributed to this report. 


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