Joe Biden has reportedly scrapped plans to nominate a conservative pro-life judge to the Eastern District of Kentucky federal court after an objection from Sen. Rand Paul.
Biden had reportedly made a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to nominate former Kentucky solicitor general Chad Meredith. In exchange, it was rumored that McConnell would not hold up other federal judge nominations from the White House.
While it was Democrats who were outraged about the potential nomination, particularly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, it was a Republican who ultimately put a stop to it.
“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, White House deputy press secretary, said Friday, according to a report from USA Today. “Therefore, the White House will not nominate Mr. Meredith.”
McConnell has since denied that there was ever a deal, telling the New York Times that it was simply a “personal favor” from the White House.
Typically, senators will provide a “blue slip” of support for federal judge candidates in their home states. Sen. Paul did not do so for Meredith.
“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 Times, calling Mr. Paul’s position “just utterly pointless.”
The Times reports:
“There was no deal,” said Mr. McConnell, adding that Mr. Biden’s consideration represented the kind of “collegiality” and once routine cooperation on home-state judges that has diminished in recent years. “This was a personal friendship gesture.”
Kentucky’s Democrat Governor Andy Beshear had said that the impending nomination was “indefensible” and urged the administration to reconsider.
Democrats and pro-abortion organizations were outraged at the prospect of Biden nominating the staunchly pro-life judge. They issued statements of relief following the reports that the deal had fallen through.
“We’re pleased that the Biden administration made this decision — it’s the right call,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said in a statement 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.”
On the other side, conservative organizations expressed disappointment that the plan had fallen through, particularly the Federalist Society, a group which Meredith belongs to.
“He is one of the most ethical people I’ve met in terms of watching him in the limelight over the past several years,” April Wimberg, the president of the Louisville chapter of the Federalist Society, told the Times. “I was very surprised that anyone, and especially Senator Paul, would have any opposition to him.”