President Biden intended to nominate a pro-life conservative to serve as a district court judge in Eastern Kentucky on the day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to reports.
In an email to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, on the afternoon of June 23, a White House aide said Chad Meredith was set to be nominated the following day.
“To be nominated tomorrow: … Stephen Chad Meredith: candidate for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky,” said the email sent by administration aide Kathleen M. Marshall, which was first obtained by the Louisville Courier Journal.
Mr. Meredith is a former Republican Kentucky Solicitor General and member of the Federalist Society.
On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision that made abortion a federal constitutional rights.
Mr. Meredith’s nomination, which has not been made public by the White House, remained unannounced.
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There has been no indication of why the White House held up the nomination, and it is not clear whether the intended nomination has been rescinded.
The White House on Tuesday declined to comment on whether the president intended to nominate Mr. Meredith and if the nomination is still in the works.
“We make it a comment not to comment on any vacancy, whether it is on the executive branch or judicial branch, especially those that have not been made yet,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
The Courier Journal first reported last week that Mr. Biden intended to nominate Mr. Meredith after the intended nomination drew criticism from Mr. Beshear and Rep. John A. Yarmuth, Kentucky Democrat.
“If the president makes that nomination, it is indefensible,” the governor said during a press conference last week. “This is an individual who aided and advised on the most egregious abuse of power by a governor in my lifetime.”
Mr. Yarmuth said the nomination was part of a deal the president struck with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in exchange for the Kentucky Republican agreeing to not hold up future nominees in the Senate.
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Mr. McConnell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Biden strongly criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v Wade and has called on Congress to protect abortion as a matter of federal law.
He said the Supreme Court’s ruling put the nation on an “extremely dangerous path” during his remarks hours after the ruling was passed down.
“Voters need to make their voices heard. This fall we must elect more senators and representatives who can codify the woman’s right to choose into federal law,” Mr. Biden said from the White House. “Congress must act. With your vote, you can have the final word.”
Kentucky is one of several states with a “trigger” law, passed in advance of last month’s ruling, to end legal abortion in the state once Roe v. Wade was overturned.