'Deal with the devil': Concerns loom that Biden’s potential Kentucky court pick is 'a lot like' Clarence Thomas

'Deal with the devil': Concerns loom that Biden’s potential Kentucky court pick is 'a lot like' Clarence Thomas
January 4, 2020 — Vice President Joe Biden holds an event with voters in the gymnasium at McKinley Elementary School in Des Moines, where he addressed a number of issues including the recent escalation with Iran. Iowa member of Congress Abby Finkenauer was also on hand to announce her endorsement of Biden. Credit: Phil Roeder // https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
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Deep concerns are looming about President Joe Biden's potential pick for a lifetime federal judgeship in Kentucky. A new report published by the Louisville Courier-Journal offered insight into the belief systems of anti-abortion lawyer Chad Meredith, who is said to be Biden's pick for a U.S. District Court seat that will be vacant in the near future.

The news outlet cited a 2018 letter written by Stephen Pitt, a general counsel to former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), who said Meredith “would be a strong and dependable conservative asset to the federal judiciary for decades.” The letter also boasted about Meredith's experience and served as a recommendation for another federal court vacancy that had come available that year.

Meredith, who served as the deputy general counsel to Bevin at the time, would “adhere to the textualist and originalist viewpoint followed by the late Justice Scalia and by other justices, such as Justice Thomas and Justice [Neil] Gorsuch,” Pitt wrote in his letter to then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “In sum, it is my opinion that the qualities I believe you think are most important in a federal judge are the same as I hold to. Based upon that belief, I can recommend Chad Meredith without reservation.”

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Although Meredith had not been selected to fill the vacancy because former President Donald Trump had chosen another conservative candidate, calls are now intensifying for Biden to also make a different selection.

Per HuffPost:

"The comparisons between Meredith and Justices Thomas and Scalia are likely to intensify calls on Biden to abandon his plans to nominate him. Not only would such a pick run counter to Biden’s much-touted record of putting forward diverse and progressive judicial nominees, but it would come on the heels of the Supreme Court gutting Roe v. Wade, a decision that breaks from 50 years of precedent and strips away the constitutional right to an abortion."

Former Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker also had a scathing opinion of Meredith, describing Biden's intent on nominating him as "a deal with the devil." He said, "The president is making a deal with the devil and once again, the people of Kentucky are crushed in the process."

The latest report on Meredith comes just days the White House notified Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's (D) plan to move forward with the nomination. In an email, White House aide Kathleen M. Marshall said, “To be nominated tomorrow: … Stephen Chad Meredith: candidate for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky."

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was also asked about Meredith's impending nomination but focused on the increase in diversity Biden has brought to the table with his nominations.

“I’m just not ― we just don’t comment on ― on vacancies, whether executive branch or judicial, in situations where we have not made a nomination. We just have not made a nomination on this yet,” Jean-Pierre said Wednesday while traveling to Ohio.

“I do want to add and reiterate that the president is proud that we’ve confirmed more federal judges than during the last three presidents, presidencies, at the equivalent time in their administrations,” she said. “That includes so many history-making firsts to help our judiciary represent the diversity of America, including [a] groundbreaking new Supreme Court justice. And that is something that we’re going to continue to do, and we won’t stop there.”

However, concerns still loom. HuffPost reported: "Meredith certainly fits the mold of Trump’s court picks. He’s a member of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal organization that funneled anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ and anti-voting rights judicial nominees to Trump’s White House for years. All six of the Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade are Federalist Society members, as were dozens of Trump’s nominees to U.S. appeals courts."

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Multiple abortion rights groups have also appealed to the president to reconsider his nomination of Meredith.

“Chad Meredith should not be nominated to a lifetime judgeship,” the groups told the Courier-Journal. “This is unacceptable at any time, but especially on the heels of six Supreme Court justices taking away a fundamental right from millions of people.”

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