Oregon’s Senators on a Collision Course with White House Over Openings on Federal Courts

Although controversial Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals candidate Ryan Bounds is on the senators' list, they will not support him.

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) today submitted lists of candidates for two highly-coveted federal judicial vacancies.

The senators earlier convened selection committees for openings on the bench for the federal District Court for the District of Oregon and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both are lifetime appointments.

The four finalists for the the District Court judge position are:

· Renata Gowie, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon

· Karin Immergut, a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge and former U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon

· Karen O'Kasey, a Portland defense attorney

· Janet Stauffer, a Circuit Court judge for the Seventh District of Oregon in the counties of Gilliam, Hood River, Sherman, Wasco, and Wheeler counties

The four finalists for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals position are:

· Kelly Andersen, a Medford trial attorney

· Ryan Bounds, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon

· Thomas Christ, a Portland appellate attorney

· Renata Gowie, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon

The greatest level of interest surrounds the candidacy of Ryan Bounds for the Court of Appeals position. Traditionally, presidents have deferred to the senators of a state when making appointments—but Oregon's senators are both Democrats and Trump is decidedly not.

As WW reported last year, Bounds is close to U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the only Republican member of Oregon's congressional delegation and he is also the leading choice of the White House.

Over the weekend, The Oregonian reported that as an undergraduate at Stanford, Bounds had written inflammatory op-eds regarding race and civil rights for a student publication.

Although Bounds has now disavowed those writings, calling them "misguided," as The O reported, Wyden and Merkley say they will attempt to block his nomination.

"After the committee finished its work, we learned that Ryan Bounds failed to disclose inflammatory writings that reveal archaic and alarming views about sexual assault, the rights of workers, people of color, and the LGBTQ community," Wyden and Merkley said in a statement.  "While we have followed through on our commitment to forward to the White House the names reported by the committee, we do not believe Mr. Bounds is a suitable nominee for a lifetime appointment to the bench."

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