Federal appeals court nominee Ryan Bounds got emotional at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing May 9 as he recalled a friend telling him that he had been the victim of anti-LGBT violence.

The remarks came in response to questioning sparked by senators’ scrutiny of Bounds’s undergraduate writings at Stanford University about campus diversity. Bounds apologized for the writings, which he said included “overheated” rhetoric.

Bounds, whom President Donald Trump nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, could be part of a wave of appeals court confirmations. That wave increased to 16 the same day as the...