- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 16, 2022

President Biden will no longer appoint a pro-life attorney for a judgeship in Kentucky after Democrats and pro-choice groups criticized the move. 

Mr. Biden was set to nominate Chad Meredith, as part of a deal he had made with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

However, an objection by Kentucky’s other Republican senator, Rand Paul, ultimately tanked the nomination. Mr. Paul refused to return a “blue slip” for the nominee, which is the customary approval a senator gives to judicial nominees in the senator’s state.

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

Mr. Paul has not publicly commented on why he decided not to support Mr. Meredith. The senator did not return a request for comment on the matter.

Mr. Biden also faced pressure from members of his party to abandon Mr. Meredith for the position.

The nomination would have come on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, greenlighting states to curb restrictions on abortion access.

“President Biden should not nominate Chad Meredith,” tweeted Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat. “Women’s reproductive health is already endangered by courts populated by Federalist Society extremists. And certainly not because Mitch McConnell is threatening inaction on mainstream judges. That’s just what McConnell does.”

Mr. Meredith is a former Kentucky solicitor general and a member of the conservative Federalist Society.

He 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.

Mr. Meredith previously served as chief deputy general counsel to former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. Mr. Meredith then worked for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who appointed him as the commonwealth’s first solicitor general in 2019. He left government to join a law firm. Mr. Meredith’s father, Stephen Meredith, is a state senator in Kentucky.

The decision to abandon the Meredith nomination caused reverberations 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’s happened to him.”

Chad is a terrific human being and exactly the kind of young, conservative judge you’d want on the bench,” said Mr. Jennings, who has close ties to Mr. McConnell. “He could’ve been there for four decades. It’s a miracle McConnell had Biden talked into it and a tragedy that Sen. Paul killed the nomination.”

Abortion-rights supporters applauded the development.

In a statement, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said: “We’re pleased that the Biden administration made this decision — it’s the right call. 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.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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