Ryan Bounds

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Ryan Bounds
Ryan Wesley Bounds

(1973-06-28) June 28, 1973 (age 45)
EducationStanford University (BA)
Yale Law School (JD)
RelativesTucker Bounds (Brother)[1]

Ryan Wesley Bounds (born June 28, 1973)[2] is an American attorney serving as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Oregon. Bounds was nominated for a position as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In July 2018, his nomination was withdrawn after some of his writings from when he was in college were considered racially insensitive.[3]


Bounds earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and political science, with honors and distinction, from Stanford University and his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal and editor-in-chief of the Yale Law & Policy Review.

Early in his career, Bounds served as a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff in the Office of Legal Policy at the United States Department of Justice. He also previously served as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, acting as the White House's primary policy expert on criminal and civil justice issues. Before becoming a special prosecutor he served as Special Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. He currently serves as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, where he prosecutes criminal cases on behalf of the United States.[4]

Failed nomination to U.S. Court of Appeals[edit]

On September 7, 2017, President Trump nominated Bounds to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to the seat vacated by Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, who assumed senior status on December 31, 2016.[5]

One week after Bounds was nominated, Oregon's two U.S. Senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, announced they would not return the Senate Blue slips for Bounds, saying they had not been adequately consulted on the nomination. The White House Counsel's Office said that it had contacted both Senators on several occasions before nominating Bounds, but received very little feedback from either Senator.[6]

On January 3, 2018, Bounds' nomination was returned to the President under Rule XXXI, Paragraph 6 of the United States Senate.[7] On January 5, 2018, President Donald Trump announced his intent to renominate Bounds to a federal judgeship.[8] On January 8, 2018, his renomination was sent to the Senate.[9] In February 2018, the bipartisan commission cited by Wyden and Merkley found Bounds to be one of four suitable applicants for the judgeship.[10] However, the Senators continued to refuse to turn in their blue slips, citing college newspaper articles Bounds wrote while a student at Stanford University in the 1990s.[11] On May 9, 2018, a hearing on his nomination was held before the Senate Judiciary Committee.[12] On June 7, 2018, his nomination was reported out of committee by an 11–10 party-line vote.[13] On July 18, 2018, the Senate voted 50–49 to invoke cloture on his nomination.[14] On July 19, 2018, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Bounds' nomination would be withdrawn after Senator Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, announced he could not support the nomination with the information he had at that point; Scott's stance left Bounds's nomination short of the number of votes needed for confirmation.[15][16] Scott is the first African American to be elected to the Senate from the Deep South since the 19th Century.[17][18][19] On July 24, 2018, the Bounds nomination was officially withdrawn.[20]

Prior to his nomination, Bounds did not disclose controversial columns written by him in The Stanford Review about campus sexual assault, workers' rights, ethnic minorities and gender discrimination to the Oregon judicial selection committee convened by the state's congressional delegation. Bounds said he was instructed to provide only material dating back to law school to the selection committee by a staffer of Senator Ron Wyden, who had helped to convene the commission. He did, however, provide those writings to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[21] Subsequent to public disclosure of Bounds' college writings, five of the seven members of the Oregon selection committee indicated that had they seen those writings, they would not have recommended Bounds as a candidate for the vacancy.[22] During his confirmation hearing, Bounds apologized for the writings, saying "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" and that his views were "not as respectful" as they should have been.[23] Senator Ron Wyden said he didn't believe in the sincerity of Bounds' apology, feeling it was intended only to secure his confirmation. "Nominees for the federal bench must be held to a higher standard," he said.[22]


Bounds has been a member of the Federalist Society since approximately 2000.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McDowell, Jade (April 28, 2017). "Hermiston grad keeps Walden's schedule running smoothly". East Oregonian. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  2. ^ Ryan Bounds, 44 (June 28, 1973). "Ryan Bounds (Wesley), 44 – Portland, OR | MyLife.com™ Background Profile". Mylife.com. Retrieved December 19, 2017.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Byrnes, Jesse (July 19, 2018). "Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws". TheHill. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  4. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Seventh Wave of Judicial Candidates". whitehouse.gov. September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  5. ^ "Nine Nominations Sent to the Senate Today". whitehouse.gov. September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  6. ^ "White House hits back at Oregon's senators over appeals court nomination".
  7. ^ "Congressional Record". www.congress.gov.
  8. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Renomination of 21 Judicial Nominees".
  9. ^ "Nominations Sent to the Senate Today".
  10. ^ "Merkley and Wyden leter to the White House" (PDF).
  11. ^ Bernstein, Maxine (February 12, 2018). "Oregon's U.S. senators say federal prosecutor Ryan Bounds unsuitable for 9th Circuit vacancy". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  12. ^ "Nominations - United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary". www.judiciary.senate.gov.
  13. ^ "Results of Executive Business Meeting – June 7, 2018, Senate Judiciary Committee" (PDF).
  14. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 115th Congress – 2nd Session". www.senate.gov. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  15. ^ "White House withdraws judicial nominee Ryan Bounds, after GOP realizes he didn't have votes for confirmation". Washington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Bendery, Jennifer (July 19, 2018). "Republican Tim Scott Tanks One Of Trump's Judicial Nominees". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  17. ^ "Political firsts: How history was made this midterm election". Usatoday.com. November 5, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  18. ^ Totenberg, Nina (July 19, 2018). "Appeals Court Nomination Withdrawn Before An Expected Failure On Senate Floor". NPR. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  19. ^ CNN, Phil Mattingly, Ariane de Vogue and Ted Barrett,. "Circuit Court nomination pulled over racially insensitive writing".
  20. ^ "Two Nominations and One Withdrawal Sent to the Senate Today". The White House. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  21. ^ Whelan, Ed (May 7, 2018). "Beyond the Bounds of Fairness". National Review. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Democratic senators blast Oregon prosecutor's judicial nomination on Senate floor, The Oregonian, Maxine Bernstein, July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  23. ^ Flynn, Meagan (May 10, 2018). "A Trump judicial nominee apologizes for controversial articles mocking multiculturalism". Washington Post. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  24. ^ "Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees" (PDF). judiciary.senate.gov. Retrieved June 30, 2018.

External links[edit]

Controversial writings by Bounds[edit]