As we prepare for the SCOTUS wars, the Trump White House did suffer a defeat today. Ryan Bounds, nominee for a judgeship for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, had his final confirmation vote withdrawn at the last moment when Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Scott (R-SC) signaled that they would vote against Bounds. With all 49 Democrats united in opposition, the loss of two Republicans meant this nomination was dead. Bounds’ reported racially insensitive writings surfaced, which caused this nomination to self-implode (via Politico):
In the following hours a number of other Republicans pledged to sink what would have been Trump’s twenty-fourth Circuit Court nominee. It became clear that the nomination was in trouble as the vote was delayed nearly an hour while Senate Republicans debated what to do about the doomed nomination.
McConnell then pulled the nomination from the Senate floor and said the nomination would be withdrawn.
As an undergraduate at Stanford, Bounds, now 45, had lamented organizations on campus that “divide up by race for their feel-good ethnic hoedowns” and called for those groups to be discontinued, among other racially charged remarks, according to a report from the Alliance for Justice. Those remarks were enough to turn off all 49 Senate Democrats, even the most conservative ones up for reelection this fall. All voted to block Bounds on Wednesday.
All 50 Republicans in attendance voted to advance the Bounds nomination on Wednesday, but after Rubio and Scott pledged to vote against the nominee’s final confirmation vote on Thursday, there was no way for the nomination to pass the Senate. Rather than hold a failed vote and put his members on the record on Bounds, the nomination was pulled from the floor.
McConnell withdraws nomination nomination of Ryan Bounds to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit after concerns about racially insensitive writings from his past, GOP senators say -- amounting to a significant loss for the White House.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 19, 2018
With Judge Brett Kavanaugh poised to fill the vacancy left by the soon-to-be-departing Justice Anthony Kennedy, Democrats are hoping to nuke his nomination as well, though its been a very low energy moment as of late. Deep down, it’s quite possible Democrats know they’ve lost this fight, especially since the moderate wing of the Senate Republican caucus gave what seemed to be a stamp of approval for Kavanaugh. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has also said that Kavanagh was qualified for the Court. This is not the Bounds nomination. No racially insensitive writings from Kavanaugh have surfaced. Nothing controversial at all really has emerged that could imperil this nomination. What the Left has against Kavanaugh is that he bought baseball tickets, his first name has an extra “t,” and uh, he’s willing to officially put the nail in the coffin of a legal decision that has more or less been already overruled over the years. It centered on the Morrison decision concerning the constitutionality of the now-lapsed Independent Counsel Act. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) admitted at the time it had run amok. Legal experts also note that special counsels, like the one involved in the Russia probe at the DOJ, are a different animal than independent counsels. The late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the lone dissent, which has been praised by pretty much everyone; Justice Elena Kagan said it was one of the finest dissents ever written.
Former Clinton spox Brian Fallon sees hope in the failed Bounds nomination regarding Kavanaugh. It’s overreach. Period. Democrats have nothing on this guy. Bet on him being confirmed, liberals. Bet on it—big league.
Anyone who thinks Brett Kavanugh is still inevitable needs to pay attention to what just happened to Ryan Bounds on the Senate floor.— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) July 19, 2018