The need for strong, independent local journalism
is more urgent than ever. Please support the city we
love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

Wyden and Merkley’s Objections to a Judicial Nominee Go Ignored by the Trump White House

In a break with recent protocols of the Senate, Ryan Bounds' nomination to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals may proceed over the objections of Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump nominated Ryan Bounds, an assistant U.S. attorney, to a highly coveted seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Almost immediately, U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) said they will object to Bounds’ nomination. Under informal rules of the U.S. Senate, if the home state senators objects to a judicial nominee, the Senate Judiciary Committee won’t move ahead with hearings.

But Buzzfeed reported this week that the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley has “hinted” he intends to proceed with the nominations regardless.

Under the Obama administration, Grassley held up judicial nominees in cases like this one. But with the power reversed, Republicans appear ready to play by different rules.

While President Trump has failed to pass significant legislation, the Republican Party’s control of Congress and the White House means they can fill powerful judge vacancies, particularly if they do away with the formalities of allowing senators to object.

On Friday, Merkley took to Twitter to decry the GOP's judicial maneuvering.