White House drops plan to appoint anti-abortion lawyer to Kentucky judge

President Joe Biden has dropped plans to appoint a Kentucky anti-abortion lawyer to serve as a federal judge for life, a White House spokesman said Friday.

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

In the end, however, it was a Republican — Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky — who appeared to win the potential nomination.

“In reviewing potential District Court nominees, the White House has learned that Senator Rand Paul will not be returning a blue slip on Chad Meredith,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Therefore, the White House will not appoint Mr. Meredith.”

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

A spokesperson for Paul did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his reasons for opposing Meredith’s potential appointment.

Republicans broke with the tradition of blue slips when Donald Trump was president, steadily advancing U.S. Circuit Court nominees despite opposition from Democratic senators of those nominees who did not hand over blue slips. Democrats have started doing the same since Biden became president. Both sides, however, maintained the tradition of district court nominees.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.

The Huffington Gt

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