The U.S. Senate today ended debate on the nomination Ryan Bounds, an assistant U.S. Attorney for Oregon, for a vacant position on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Ninth Circuit, which covers nine western states including Oregon and two Pacific islands, is generally regarded as the most liberal of the country's federal appeals courts.
President Donald J. Trump nominated Bounds last year upon the advice of U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the only Republican member of Oregon's congressional delegation.
Typically, federal judicial nomination are the province of a state's U.S. senators. But because both of Oregon's senators, U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) are Democrats, Trump chose to ignore the candidates they selected.
In the tradition-bound Senate, nominees usually cannot move forward over the objection of home state senators but this year Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Chair Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) ignored that tradition and the objections of Wyden and Merkley.
The Democrats opposed Bounds in part because of conservative op-eds he wrote while an undergraduate at Stanford and because as a conservative, he would contribute to the rightward shift of the federal judiciary that marks one of Trump's most successful initiatives.
Today, in a party-line floor vote, the Senate voted to bring to close to the contentious debate over Bounds' nomination by a 50 to 49 margin (Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was absent.
The Senate will now move to a vote on Bounds at 10:45 am Thursday, Pacific time. If confirmed, Bounds will replace Portlander Diarmuid O'Scannlain, who is taking senior status after 30 years on the appellate bench.
The judgeship is a lifetime appointment and comes with a salary of $220,600.