July 13, 2022
Several Senate Democrats said on Monday, July 11, that they planned to vote against the confirmation of a conservative, anti-abortion federal judge nominee if President Joe Biden follows through with a purported deal with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, reports USA Today.
The strong reaction from Democrats on Biden’s planned nomination of attorney Chad Meredith in Kentucky raised the prospects that the president’s own party could block the pick, should he move forward.
“All I’m going to tell you is I’m going to vote no,” said Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) on Monday. “It’s his call, but if he asked me for my advice I would say I don’t know how many Democrats are planning on voting yes.”
Biden has not formally nominated Meredith, a Federal Society attorney who has fought against abortion rights. But—as first reported exclusively by The Courier Journal—a White House official informed Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear‘s office in an email on June 23 that the Biden Administration planned to nominate Meredith to a U.S. District Court judgeship in Kentucky’s Eastern District the next day.
The next morning, however, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade—ending the constitutional right to abortion and sending shock waves across the nation. Meredith’s intended nomination was not announced or submitted.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which takes up federal judicial nominations, said he spoke last week to the White House about the potential Meredith nomination.
“What’s in it for us? They didn’t give a specific answer,” Durbin told reporters, according to Politico. He said Democrats would not support Meredith’s confirmation “on his merits alone.”
Biden could try to win support of a Meredith nomination with Republican votes in an evenly divided Senate. But a president fighting his own party for a lower-court judicial nominee would be highly unusual, and he would have to overcome a Judiciary Committee controlled by Democrats.
McConnell has refused to comment until Biden officially submits a nominee, but his camp has dismissed talk of a deal as “false information.”
Biden’s potential nomination of Meredith has fueled a backlash from progressive activists who have demanded bolder action from the Biden Administration after the Supreme Court decision.
Several pro-abortion-rights groups have called the potential nomination “unacceptable” and demanded Biden not move ahead with it.
nominated,” Brown said. “He should not send the name on.”
Research contact: @USATODAY