Merkley Applauds Withdrawal of Bounds Nomination

WASHINGTON, DC — After spending the week working to stop the nomination of Ryan Bounds to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the White House withdrew the judicial nomination of Ryan Bounds:

“Today, the integrity of our courts and of a 101-year tradition of consulting home state Senators on judicial appointments was preserved. I am pleased that President Trump and my Republican colleagues have recognized what Senator Wyden and I have known all along — that Ryan Bounds should never have been nominated in the first place.  

“Ryan Bounds’ decision to hide inflammatory and intolerant writings from our bipartisan selection committee should have been automatically disqualifying. Instead, in their fervor to pack the courts with young right-wing judges handpicked by deeply partisan groups, Republicans continued to push his nomination forward. But today, they stepped back from the brink and put the good of our country, of our courts, and of the Senate above party.”

Had he been confirmed today, Bounds would have been the first judicial nominee in at least a century to become a federal judge over the objections of both home state senators—a tradition known as the “blue slip” process. The blue slip translates the Senate’s constitutional responsibility of “advice and consent” on judicial nominees into practice. It ensures that the president consults with home-state senators on lifetime appointments.

Merkley and Wyden had refused to return their blue slips following the revelation that Bounds had hid inflammatory writings revealing his archaic and alarming views about sexual assault, the rights of workers, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.

Earlier in the week, Merkley and Wyden led a prolonged effort on the Senate floor to highlight the myriad reasons why Ryan Bounds was unqualified for the powerful appellate court. They were joined by Senators Schumer, Blumenthal, Whitehouse, Casey, Warren, and Klobuchar. Video from the floor effort is available here.