WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Friday dropped plans to nominate an anti-abortion lawyer backed by Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for a federal judgeship in Kentucky.
The decision to withdraw S. Chad Meredith’s nomination came amid a split between McConnell and Republican Sen. Rand Paul, his fellow Kentucky native, over the selection.
The White House highlighted Paul’s resistance to dropping the nomination.
“In reviewing potential District Court nominees, the White House has learned that Senator Rand Paul will not be returning a ‘blue slip’ on Chad Meredith,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. communicated. “Therefore, the White House will not appoint Mr. Meredith.”
A spokeswoman for Paul did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
President Joe Biden intended to nominate Meredith to serve as a district court judge in eastern Kentucky. The plan, first revealed by the Louisville Courier Journal, had languished for several weeks. The potential nomination drew resistance from Kentucky Democrats in Washington.
McConnell, a key player in nominating conservatives to the federal bench during Donald Trump’s presidency, told The New York Times that the White House intends to follow through on its commitment to appoint Meredith until Paul opposes it.
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Meredith, a well-known conservative from Kentucky and the son of a Republican state senator, has defended the state’s anti-abortion laws in court. He also successfully defended a state law that stripped Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear of his emergency power to implement COVID-19 restrictions.
Meredith previously served as chief assistant general counsel to former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. Meredith then worked for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who appointed him as the Commonwealth’s first Solicitor General in 2019.
Meredith, a member of the Federalist Society, left government to join a law firm.
The decision to drop Meredith’s nomination caused repercussions in Kentucky. Scott Jennings, a Kentuckian and former adviser to President George W. Bush, called it a “sad day” and said it was “indefensible what happened to him.”
“Chad is a wonderful human being and exactly the kind of young conservative judge you would want on the bench,” said Jennings, who has close ties to McConnell. “He could have been there for four decades. It’s a miracle that McConnell got Biden talking and a tragedy that Senator Paul killed the nomination.
Proponents of abortion rights have applauded this development.
In a statement, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said, “We are thrilled the Biden administration has made this decision – it is the right decision. With abortion rights and access at stake in Kentucky and across the country, it is absolutely essential that all judges uphold and uphold our fundamental rights and freedoms, including reproductive freedom.
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