During the fallout after the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade and let states ban abortion, President Joe Biden has been dealing with criticism not just about his administration’s lackluster response to the healthcare crisis, but about a reported judicial nomination.
HuffPost reported on Tuesday that—despite widespread criticism from progressive lawyers, members of Congress, and a coalition of reproductive rights and justice groups—the Biden administration hasn’t yet backed off plans to nominate anti-abortion lawyer Chad Meredith to a lifetime judgeship in Kentucky. The Louisville Courier-Journal broke the story on June 29 that Biden planned to nominate Meredith reportedly in exchange for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) “agreeing not to hold up future federal nominations by the Biden White House.”
Reporters asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre multiple questions about Meredith at a press conference last week, and she said, “We haven’t nominated anyone—that’s what I would say—as of yet.” When asked if Biden would nominate a federal judge who was anti-abortion, Jean-Pierre replied, “That’s a hypothetical that I can’t really speak to.”
But privately, the administration doesn’t appear to be backing away. As a source briefed last week on the White House’s plans told HuffPost: “They’re defending it.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said he spoke to the White House last week about the potential nomination and asked what they would get out of it. “What’s in it for us? They didn’t give a specific answer,” Durbin told Politico.
The Courier-Journal reported Monday that several Democratic Senators would vote no if Biden went through with the nomination: Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Sen. Jacky Rosen (Nevada), Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada). Others—including Sen. Tim Kaine (Virginia), Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), and Sen. John Hickenlooper (Colo.)—stopped short of saying they’d vote no, but criticized the reported deal given Meredith’s anti-abortion views.
If Biden goes through with this nomination after very loud opposition from elected members of his party and Democratic voters, it would be an absolute betrayal.