Democrats rally against anti-choice judicial nominee

Democrats rally against anti-choice judicial nominee

Before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, President Joe Biden had reportedly worked out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to nominate anti-abortion Republican Chad Meredith for a lower federal courts position in Kentucky. In exchange for nominating Meredith, the Louisville Courier Journal reported, McConnell would agree not to hold up Biden’s judicial nominees. But Biden hasn’t formally nominated Meredith, and USA Today is reporting that “several Senate Democrats” are vowing to vote against Meredith if the nomination becomes official.

In an article published by USA Today on July 12, reporters Joey Garrison, Dylan Wells, Joe Sonka and Andrew Wolfson explain, “The strong reaction from Democrats on Biden's planned nomination of attorney Chad Meredith in Kentucky raised the prospects of the president’s own party blocking the pick should he move forward…. Biden has not formally nominated Meredith, a (Federalist) Society attorney who has fought against abortion rights. But, as first reported exclusively by the Courier Journal, a White House official informed Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's office in an e-mail June 23 that it planned to nominate Meredith to a U.S. District Court judgeship in Kentucky's Eastern District the next day.”

The next day was Friday, June 24, when the U.S. Supreme Court announced its Dobbs decision and overturned Roe v. Wade after 49 years. In response, huge abortion rights demonstrations were held in major cities all over the United States that day, from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia to Houston to Seattle.

READ MORE: The Roe backlash is real. And, as they say, it is spectacular

One of the Democrats who has vowed to vote against Meredith’s confirmation is Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, who told USA Today, “All I’m going to tell you is I’m going to vote no. 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.”

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told USA Today that he would like to “know more” about the possible nomination of Meredith, saying, “It wouldn’t be my choice for judge.”

“Biden could try to win support of a Meredith nomination with Republican votes in an evenly (divided) Senate,” the USA Today reporters note. “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.’”

Sen. Tim Kaine is expressing strong reservations about Meredith. The Virginia Democrat, who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential race, told USA Today, “From what I've read, I would have some concerns with that nominee. I don't know the individual person, so this is based on what I'm reading. But I do not think this is the kind of person that a Democratic majority should put on bench based on what I'm reading.”

READ MORE: Judge blocks Arizona 'personhood' law aimed at criminalizing abortion

One of the U.S. House Democrats who is vehemently critical of a possible Meredith nomination is progressive Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri. Bush wouldn’t be able to vote for or against Meredith if Biden nominates him, as federal judicial nominees are confirmed by the Senate, not the House. But Bush is speaking her mind.

USA Today quotes Bush as saying, “In the midst of a national public health crisis on abortion rights, the last thing we need is another anti-abortion judge interfering in our personal health care decisions. I’m urging President Biden: please don’t do this.”

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