White House Drops Plan To Nominate Anti-Abortion Lawyer For Judgeship In Kentucky

President Joe Biden has dropped plans to nominate a Kentucky anti-abortion attorney to a lifetime federal judgeship, a White House spokesperson said Friday.

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

In the end, though, it was a Republican ― Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky ― who appeared to tank the potential nomination.

“In considering potential District Court nominees, the White House learned that Senator Rand Paul will not return a blue slip on Chad Meredith,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Therefore, the White House will not nominate Mr. Meredith.”

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

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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