Alliance for Justice today released a preliminary “Snapshot” report on the record of Ryan Bounds, whom Donald Trump has nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. AFJ President Nan Aron released the following statement:
“Once again the Trump Administration has given us a nominee for the federal bench, Ryan Bounds, who has made intolerant and outrageous remarks about people with backgrounds and beliefs different from his. The pattern of racist, sexist and homophobic remarks by these nominees is unacceptable, and we urge the Senate to treat this behavior as disqualifying for a federal judgeship.”
Under President Obama, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee made clear that a nominee’s writings, including those dating back to the nominee’s time in college, were grounds to oppose confirmation.
For example, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Senators Mike Lee and Jon Kyle, pressed Jesse Furman, a former Assistant United States Attorney in New York, about an article he wrote as an undergraduate critical of the National Rifle Association. As Senator Chuck Grassley said in opposing Furman, “When we considered his nomination last year, a few items of concern were raised. These issues included writings he made while in college on gun control[.]”
AFJ’s review finds that while at Stanford University:
- Bounds wrote critically about “strident racial factions in the student body” and their work to “build tolerance” and “promote diversity.” He went on to claim that the efforts of these students “seem always to contribute more to restricting consciousness, aggravating intolerance, and pigeonholing cultural identities than many a Nazi bookburning.”
- Bounds complained about multicultural organizations at the university who “divide up by race for their feel-good ethnic hoedowns.”
- Bounds wrote that “race-focused groups” should not continue on campus, claiming that the “existence of ethnic organizations is no inevitable prerequisite to maintaining a diverse community—white students, after all, seem to be doing all right without an Aryan Student Union.”
- 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.”
- Similarly, Bounds accused campus “race-thinkers” of denigrating African-Americans as “oreos,” “Uncle Toms” or “sell-outs” if they rejected “victimhood status.”
- Bounds wrote condescendingly and dismissively about sexual assault on campus and argued that to identify and punish alleged perpetrators, the university should maintain the ironclad “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof used by law enforcement. He wrote: “Expelling students is probably not going to contribute a great deal toward a rape victim’s recovery; there is no moral imperative to risk egregious error in doing so.”
- Bounds decried “sensitivity” towards racial minorities and the LGBTQ community, and activism by those communities as a “pestilence” that “stalks us” and “threatens to corrupt our scholastic experience.”
- Bounds served as opinion editor of The Stanford Review, and during his tenure a feature of the opinion page, “Smoke Signals,” began using a crude caricature of a Native American figure even though the university had discontinued using the “Indians” mascot more than twenty years earlier in response to complaints from Native American groups. Stanford University President Gerhard Casper and Provost Condoleezza Rice both criticized the Review for using the image.
AFJ continues to research Bounds’s full record. The Snapshot can be found online here: https://afj.org/our-work/nominees/afj-snapshot-ryan-bounds