The White House on Thursday withdrew one of President Trump's judicial nominees minutes before he was scheduled for a Senate confirmation vote, CNN reports. In what the AP calls a "stunning move," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on the Senate floor that he was pulling Ryan Bounds' nomination to be a judge on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Bounds, an assistant US attorney in Oregon, had come under fire for writings during his years as a student at Stanford University that critics say are intolerant. Bounds wrote that activism on behalf of racial minorities and gays and lesbians was a "pestilence" threatening "to corrupt our scholastic experience," per USA Today. He also argued against expelling students for sexual assault.
It's rare for a judicial nomination to be withdrawn at so late a stage unless the nominee lacks the support to be confirmed. The two senators from Bounds' home state, Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, had both returned what's known as a negative blue slip, objecting to Bounds' nomination because of the writings as well as the fact that, they say, they were not consulted by the Trump administration before Bounds was nominated. The Republicans have a 50-49 voting edge in the Senate, but two Republicans—Tim Scott of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida—had voiced concerns about Bounds, with Scott announcing he couldn't support him Thursday. According to CNN's sources, several other senators then said they felt the same way; Merkley credits Scott's decision with forcing the White House to withdraw Bounds' nomination.
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