WASHINGTON ― Joe Biden’s reported pick of Chad Meredith, an anti-abortion lawyer, for a federal judgeship in Kentucky has drawn outrage from progressives and reproductive rights groups following the Supreme Court decision gutting Roe v. Wade.
Now key Senate Democrats are speaking out against the prospect of Meredith’s nomination as the White House keeps everyone in suspense about whether it intends to do so.
“I do not think this is the kind of person that a Democratic majority should put on the bench based on what I’m reading [about him],” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told HuffPost on Monday.
Kaine, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, added that he “would have some concerns” if Meredith is ultimately nominated for the U.S. District Court post.
Meredith is an anti-abortion lawyer who would operate a lot like conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia, according to his former boss. His planned nomination by the White House was reportedly part of some sort of deal on nominations between Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
The White House emailed Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) saying Biden planned to tap Meredith as a nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on the day before the Supreme Court handed down its decision overturning 50 years of precedent guaranteeing a right to an abortion.
It’s unclear if the White House still plans to move forward with Meredith’s nomination or if it has been rescinded. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said they “do not comment on vacancies” at a briefing last week.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he spoke to the White House about the reported deal involving Meredith last week.
“I said, ‘What’s in it for us?’ They haven’t given a specific answer,” Durbin told reporters on Monday.
Asked if he believes Democrats would get behind the nomination, Durbin said, “Not on his merits alone.”
“All I’m going to tell you is I’m going to vote no,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) added when asked about the prospect of considering Meredith as a federal judge. “It’s [Biden’s] call, but if he asked me for my advice I would say I don’t know how many Democrats are planning on voting yes.”