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Biden no longer set to nominate anti-abortion conservative to life-long federal judgeship following objection from Rand Paul

President Joe Biden addresses the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade June 24, 2022 in Cross Hall at the White House in Washington, DC. The Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • President Joe Biden will no longer appoint an anti-abortion attorney to a federal judgeship position.
  • Biden rescinded his potential nomination after Sen. Rand Paul objected to the nomination.
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, suspected to be part of a deal with Biden, called Paul’s opposition “utterly pointless.”

Resistance from Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, has scotched President Joe Biden’s plan to appoint a conservative attorney to a federal judgeship, The New York Times reported Friday.

Biden’s plan to nominate Chad Meredith, an anti-abortion Republican, in a suspected deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell caused backlash from Democrats and advocates following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

Rep. John Yarmuth, a Louisville Democrat and the chairman of the House Budget Committee, told The Courier-Journal that the deal was “some kind of effort to appease Mitch McConnell, which is something this state and country should be very upset about.” 

McConnell has had a significant influence on judicial nominations throughout his tenure, Bloomberg reported. Pending the November midterm elections and a possible Republican majority in the Senate, Biden would need McConnell’s support to pass judicial nominations, Insider previously reported.

“I said, what’s in it for us?” Senator Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat serving as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said to reporters about the potential nomination, according to The Times. “They haven’t given me a specific answer.”

McConnell denied the deal in his interview with The Times, calling it a “personal friendship gesture.”

“In considering potential District Court nominees, the White House learned that Senator Rand Paul will not return a blue slip on Chad Meredith,” Andrew Bates, the deputy press secretary, said Friday. “Therefore, the White House will not nominate Mr. Meredith.”

The “blue slip” Bates referred to, according to the Committee on the Judiciary, is a document that would establish the Senate’s consent to the White House’s choice for a federal judge appointment. Paul’s rejection of the blue slip indicates a dissent towards Meredith’s potential appointment.

“The net result of this is it has prevented me from getting my kind of judge out of a liberal Democratic president,” McConnell told The New York Times.

He also called Paul’s opposition “just utterly pointless.”

Meredith, the solicitor general to Kentucky’s attorney general, was set to be appointed to the Eastern District Court in Kentucky. 

In 2017, he defended a law that would force providers to make abortion-seeking patients listen to the heartbeat of their developing fetus, the Courier-Journal reported in 2019. 

Meredith also has ties to the conservative Federalist Society, of which Supreme Court Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh also have connections. 

“We’re pleased that the Biden administration made this decision — it’s the right call,” the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Mini Timmaraju, said in a statement, according to USA Today.

“With abortion rights and access on the line in Kentucky and across the country, it is absolutely essential that all judges defend and uphold our fundamental rights and freedoms, including reproductive freedom,” Timmaraju added.

The White House, Sen. Rand Paul, Chad Meredith, and Mitch McConnell did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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