White House Drops Plan To Nominate Anti-Abortion Lawyer For Judgeship In Kentucky

Democrats and reproductive rights groups were furious that Biden was planning to nominate Chad Meredith. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) ultimately stopped it.

President Joe Biden has dropped plans to nominate a Kentucky anti-abortion attorney to a lifetime federal judgeship, a White House spokesperson said Friday.

Biden had come under intense criticism from Democrats and reproductive rights groups after the Louisville Courier-Journal broke the news that he planned to pick Chad Meredith for a seat on the U.S. District Court in eastern Kentucky. Meredith’s potential nomination appeared to be part of a broader deal on a mix of judicial nominees being worked out behind the scenes between the White House and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

In the end, though, it was a Republican ― Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky ― who appeared to tank the potential nomination.

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

It is a tradition in the Senate Judiciary Committee that its chair will not advance a judicial nominee until both senators from that nominee’s home state turn in a so-called blue slip ― literally, a blue piece of paper ― signaling that they are on board with moving forward. Because Paul said he would not turn in a blue slip for Meredith, he effectively killed the nomination.

A Paul spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why he opposed Meredith’s potential nomination.

Republicans broke from the blue slip tradition when Donald Trump was president, routinely advancing U.S. Circuit Court nominees despite opposition from those nominees’ Democratic senators who didn’t turn in blue slips. Democrats have begun to do the same since Biden became president. Both parties have upheld the tradition for District Court nominees, though.

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