News & Politics

This Trump Judicial Nominee Was So Racist Even Republicans Couldn't Support Him

His nomination was withdrawn.

Trump judicial nominee Ryan Bounds
Photo Credit: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just withdrew the nomination of Ryan Bounds to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, as well as Guam. Only one other Trump appellate nominee has withdrawn, the ignominious Brett Talley, now relegated to vetting others for judicial nominations. 

His undergraduate contributions to a Stanford student paper leave little room for doubt as to his views. Among other snippets cited by The Oregonian, his homestate paper, these seem to betray a particular hostility to identities other than his own.

The existence of ethnic organizations is no inevitable prerequisite to maintaining a diverse community – white students, after all, seem to be doing all right without an Aryan Student Union.'

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There are a few more gems along those lines, and I’d hate for you to miss them.

Whenever a group of white males happens to be at the same place at the same time, you can be sure that the foul stench of oppression and exploitation lingers in the air. In contrast, ethnic centers, whose sole purpose is to bring together exclusive cliques of students to revel in racial purity, are so righteous that the mere mention of cutting their budgets incites turmoil on the grandest scale.

Ah, white male victimhood! That’s pretty much the motto of this administration—now they call it “economic anxiety”—so, had Bounds not published a veritable forest of racist thoughts, that probably only would have counted for him.

Then there’s this claim, which is too many levels of ignorant to engage.

If a black person is an individualist and a thoroughgoing capitalist who eschews victimhood status and its concomitant entitlements, race-thinkers are quick to brand him “oreo,” “Uncle Tom,” or “sell-out.” This is a beloved tool for consensus-building at Stanford, land of multicultural toleration.

Next up? His complaint that when he announced his opposition to a separate black student orientation weekend—with a snide, more-than-a-little-racist comment reducing the experience of that weekend for black students to having their own, obviously different (don’t ask him why) barbecue.

I wanted to attend a publicly announced meeting of students, organized by bigwigs at the Black Student Union among others, who were concerned (don’t ask me why) about the loss of university support for a separate orientation weekend for prospective black students. Perhaps their barbecues are more scintillating than the run-of-the-mill barbecues in which the rest of the prospective freshmen are invited.  Maybe the special black recruitment program ensures an opportunity to start early in the institution of race-think… Anyway, I was promptly booted from the meeting because my fair complexion cued these race-think champions to view me as the opponent, unable and unwilling to understand their perspective.  They ensured, of course, that I never will.  But then, I am the opponent.

Of less import to Republicans but of great import to decent people, Bounds was also ahead-of-his-time legally homophobic.

Another instance of Sensitivity working its divisive magic: a group of pathetically intoxicated athletes vandalize a statue celebrating “gay pride.” … We hear of sensations of personal violation and outrage and of suspicions that male athletes and fraternity members are bigots where socialization patterns induce this sort of terrorism.  Perhaps all of this is true, but the castigation of athletes and frat boys for flagrantly anti-homosexual prejudices is predicated on a motivation for this vandalism that has not been articulated.  Results?  The vandals might face hate-crime charges, fraternity members – regardless of their individually demonstrated prejudices (or, for that matter, sexual orientation) – face mandatory Sensitivity training, the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Center receives $10,000 from funds the university ostensibly does not have, and Sensitivity insinuates itself a little further into the fissures of our community.

Bounds was also happy to trumpet his concern for men who’ve raped women over survivors’ rights—and over the duty of the justice system to penalize sexual assault. 

Expelling students "is probably not going to contribute a great deal toward a rape victim's recovery; there is no more imperative to risk egregious error in doing so.''

Relevant to all of the above, he’s also reported to have used “derogatory language” to refer to those who disagreed or who were implicated in his views of how society should be organized. I’ll let you read between the lines.

Bounds tried to sweep his rhetoric under the carpet as “the ill-considered, tone-deaf, and mortifyingly insensitive pronouncements of one's youth.” But, folks, this is the stuff that is readily available. People who publish racist rhetoric like these in public with an eye toward persuading others are moderating their language and their views.

For every conservative in his home state willing to endorse Bounds’s bid to replace the judge he clerked for, Diarmuid O'Scannlain, there’s someone else available to point out that his actions were, indeed, egregious, and his apology was painfully lacking for someone who professes to have seen the light. 

Barbara J. Diamond, a veteran Portland lawyer who provides legal diversity and inclusion training and was recently appointed to the Multnomah Bar Association's equity committee, doesn't accept Bounds' apology. She said she was not satisfied that Bounds described his college writings as "tone deaf'' and "embarrassing.''

"I view his op-eds as racist and homophobic. Failure to use these words to me says that Bounds has not really learned his lesson and is not accountable,'' Diamond said.

It’s telling that it takes a record of racism, sexism, and homophobia this evident to disqualify a Republican judicial nominee. Keep in mind, too, that all but one Republican seemed willing to accept that.

It took Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the only African-American Republican senator, saying he couldn’t vote for Bounds for another Republican to indicate they’d follow suit. McConnell didn’t withdraw Bounds until Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) objected. Even then, it appears that McConnell was loathe to withdraw Bounds and that the threat of more senators willing to join the pair affected his course of action.

 

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