Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Democrats’ Beyond-Bounds Demagoguery

This Thursday, June 7, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote to report to the Senate floor the nomination of Ryan Bounds to a Ninth Circuit vacancy in Oregon. From the Senate Democrats’ questioning at his hearing, it is clear that they have no meaningful case against his confirmation.

In a post days before Bounds’s hearing, I explained that claims that Bounds had improperly “failed to disclose” his college writings to the state selection committee that Oregon’s two Democratic senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, had set up were utter flimflam. In brief: Wyden’s own staffer advised Bounds that providing to the selection committee only materials “going back as far as law school would be great.” Bounds complied with the advice from Wyden’s staffer. There is zero basis to believe that Bounds was trying to conceal those articles from the selection committee. Any speculation that Bounds might have been trying to conceal those articles is baseless and is amply refuted by the fact that he supplied them all to the Senate Judiciary Committee in his Senate questionnaire response in early January, before he met with the selection committee.

Further, as David Lat has summed it up (and as Alliance for Justice’s own presentation of Bounds’s oh-so-inflammatory remarks shows), Bounds’s college writings simply “poked fun at the excesses of political correctness,” but Wyden and Merkley instead unfairly “tar[red]” him as supposedly “biased against minorities, women and gays.”

One exchange at the hearing hilariously captures how empty the Left’s case against Bounds is: Senator Richard Blumenthal complained to Bounds that “You referred to fellow students as ‘oreos,’ ‘twinkies,’ ‘coconuts,’ and the like.” Bounds, in reply, made the obvious point that he was “decry[ing] the use of those names.” Blumenthal, following up, objected: “But you referred to fellow students with those terms.” Bounds again had to point out that he “was complaining about the fact that other people referred to my fellow students that way.”

Was Blumenthal being an idiot demagogue? Or was he poorly served by his own staffers?

I’ll note that Alliance for Justice makes the same silly claim against Bounds:

Using racist and offensive language, Bounds claimed that there were communities on campus who believed that the “opponent is the white male and his coterie of meanspirited lackeys: ‘oreos,’ ‘twinkies,’ ‘coconuts,’ and the like.”

(No, AFJ never alleges “racist and offensive language” beyond the very terms that Bounds was objecting to.)

It’s almost as if Blumenthal and/or his staffers never stopped to think for themselves but instead mindlessly parroted AFJ’s ridiculous smear.

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