49 Republicans were fine giving someone with a history of racist writing a life-tenured position on the federal courts. The one exception in the conference is not surprising:
Ryan Bounds’ nomination to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was derailed on Thursday when South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott announced he could not support the nominee because of his history of racist writing.
Donald Trump nominated Bounds, who currently serves as an assistant U.S. attorney, to the 9th Circuit in September. A staunch conservative, immigration hardliner, and member of the Federalist Society, Bounds appeared to be coasting to an easy confirmation until the liberal group Alliance for Justice uncovered bigoted statements he made as a Stanford student in the 1990s.
In the vast majority of cases, Tim Scott will vote like a conventional Republican. But there will be occasions where it will matter, like Clarence Thomas joining the Court’s four liberal members to hold that state governments are not required to put their imprimatur on symbols celebrating treason in defense of slavery.