WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is abandoning his plans to nominate anti-abortion lawyer Chad Meredith to be a federal judge in Kentucky, the White House told NBC News on Friday.
The president’s initial plan, reported June 29 by the Louisville Courier Journal, was part of an apparent deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that later sparked a firestorm among Biden supporters, particularly due to the heightened focus on abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., did not sign off on the nomination by returning a so-called blue slip, a courtesy granted to home state senators on district judgeships like the one Meredith was under consideration for.
“In considering potential district court nominees, the White House learned that Senator Rand Paul will not return a blue slip on Chad Meredith,” Bates said. “Therefore, the White House will not nominate Mr. Meredith.”
Paul’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why he didn’t support the Meredith nomination.
The news, first reported by biden-mcconnell-judge-abortion.html”>The New York Times on Friday, comes as Biden seeks to navigate the shifting politics of abortion rights and a Democratic base that — along with a majority of the country, according to polls — vehemently opposes the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion.
Meredith’s prospects of being confirmed were already uncertain in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, told NBC News earlier this week that if Biden were to nominate Meredith, “I’m a no.” He said that if Biden wanted his advice, he’d tell the president he wasn’t sure how many Democrats would vote for the Kentucky lawyer, who works for the law firm Squire Patton Boggs and meredith-bidens-anti-abortion-pick-kentucky-judge/7790119001/”>previously defended a state abortion law in federal court.
NBC News has reached out to the firm seeking comment from Meredith.
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