Mitch McConnell Withdraws Judge Nom For Being TOO RACIST. Is That Even Allowed?

Tim Scott, the Senate's sole black Republican, added some spice to my Thursday when he torpedoed the nomination of Oregon's Ryan Bounds to fill a seat on the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals. Why? He thought he was just too racist, and if you're too racist for the black Tea Party-endorsed senator from South Carolina, you're too racist to even operate a bad pizza chain.

The Senate, on a party-line vote Wednesday, ended debate on the controversial nomination, with a confirmation vote expected Thursday. But instead, the nomination was pulled.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the withdrawal ahead of a confirmation vote when it became clear that passage was uncertain. This is a rare loss for McConnell on a nominee after his string of confirmations since the start of the Trump administration.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who is African-American, did not support the nomination, dooming Bounds in a Senate divided along party lines 50-49, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., absent from Capitol Hill due to his battle against brain cancer. "After talking with the nominee last night and meeting with him today, I had unanswered questions that led to me being unable to support him," Scott said in a statement provided to NPR.

Yikes! Scott met with Bounds and still couldn't vote for him? Scott helped confirm Jeff "My Name Literally Translates to 'Racist'" Sessions, who the ghost of Coretta Scott King visits nightly like Ethel Rosenberg haunting Roy Cohn in Angels in America. You just know Bounds was on his knees, dignity be damned, begging the whole time. He only needed one black person on his side to get the job, and he couldn't even lock down the one who's a Republican from South Carolina. He might as well trade in his cabin on Mount Hood for an actual white hood.

Once it was clear Scott was a firm "no," Marco Rubio, in yet another of his "profiles in courage," hopped on the now speeding bandwagon against Bounds, a US attorney for Oregon who Donald Trump nominated in September of 2017. Slow clap for Marco, everyone!

The Bound hearings were notable because they proceeded despite neither of his home state senators releasing "blue slips" that signaled approval for a nominee. That usually served as an automatic veto, and in fact, Republicans often withheld "blue slips" to block Obama's judicial nominees until Trump won and they decided the whole thing was silly.

During his confirmation hearings in May, Bounds "fake apologized" for having written bigoted garbage as a college student that was published in the Stanford Review. Bounds apparently spontaneously became conveniently overcome with career-advancement-related remorse.

"I share the concerns of many that the rhetoric I used in debating campus politics back in the early '90s on Stanford's campus was often overheated, overbroad," he said, adding that his views were "not as respectful" as they should have been "about how to best pursue diversity and ensure a multicultural respect on campus."

If he'd used "out of bounds" instead of either "overheated" or "overbroad," I swear to Shirley Bassey he'd be confirmed right now. Maybe it was just his tone. I'm sure a kid from rural Umatilla, Oregon, which voted overwhelmingly for Trump, appreciates the pursuit of diversity that likely got him noticed by a school like Stanford in the first place. Let's take a look.

"During my years in our Multicultural Garden of Eden," he wrote, "I have often marveled at the odd strategies that some of the more strident racial factions of the student body employ in their attempts to 'heighten consciousness,' 'build tolerance,' 'promote diversity' and otherwise convince us to partake of that fruit which promises to open our eyes to a PC version of the knowledge of good and evil. I am mystified because these tactics seem always to contribute more to restricting consciousness, aggravating intolerance and pigeonholing cultural identities than many a Nazi bookburning."

I submit that the Multiculturalistas, when they divide up by race for their feel-good ethnic hoedowns, engage in nearly all of (the fundamental behaviors of group think).

Man, is this bad writing, and his other stuff is even worse and more offensive but I don't feel like wasting your eyeball energy on it. Did this asshole really think the Black Student Union "aggravates intolerance" more than bookburning Nazis? Bounds wasn't forced to hide in an attic because he didn't want to attend a screening of Spike Lee's Malcolm X. Fine, whatever, it doesn't surprise me that a straight white conservative man wouldn't understand the need for community among members of a marginalized group or even appreciate the value of diversity in general, but what does strike me as odd is the same guy ending up as the chair of the the Multnomah Bar Association's equity, diversity and inclusion committee. This is like making a coal lobbyist the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. There were 10 other board committees -- including a golf committee, which I'm going to risk stereotyping and say was likely a better fit. What the hell was on his mind? Maybe Bounds was trying to rebrand himself in "liberal utopia" Portland, but he had to know when he accepted the nomination that his 1990s past would turn up like an embarrassing photo of myself in a Fresh Prince shirt. The MBA Board cut ties with him in February.

On Monday, February 12, 2018, the Board of the Multnomah Bar Association (MBA) became aware of opinion pieces that Ryan Bounds, the Chair of the MBA's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (formerly known as the Equality and Diversity Committee) wrote as a college student. Those articles express insensitive, intolerant and disdaining views towards racial and ethnic minorities, campus sexual assault victims, and the LGBTQ community.

The MBA Board requested Ryan's resignation and Ryan tendered his resignation on Tuesday evening. The MBA has accepted that resignation effective immediately. The MBA strongly disavows the views expressed in those articles as racist, misogynistic, homophobic and disparaging of survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

Doesn't anyone screen anybody they give fairly important positions to anymore? I think Bounds was probably drawn to the role because even if he doesn't actually support diversity and inclusion, his inherent white male supremacy still insisted that if there's going to be a committee for it, then he's obviously the most qualified to lead it. At least the MBA Board quickly did the right thing and replaced Bounds with Stephen Miller. I kid! No, the chair is now Susan Cournoyer. Hey! That's a woman. Live the mission!

Senate Democrats are also interested in past writings from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It remains to be seen if there's anything there that'll sink him like Bounds was, but for their sake I hope what they find is at the very least better written. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a "feel-good ethnic hoedown" to attend.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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