President Joe Biden’s reported pick for a lifetime federal judgeship in Kentucky isn’t only extremely anti-abortion, he would also operate quite a bit like conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia, in response to his former boss.
Chad Meredith, who the Louisville Courier-Journal reported last week was Biden’s pick for a soon-to-be vacant U.S. District Court seat, “could be a robust and dependable conservative asset to the federal judiciary for a long time,” in response to a 2018 letter from Stephen Pitt, a general counsel to conservative former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R). The letter touted Meredith’s candidacy for a distinct federal court emptiness in Kentucky that yr.
Meredith, who was deputy general counsel to Bevin on the time, would “adhere to the textualist and originalist viewpoint followed by the late Justice Scalia and by other justices, resembling Justice Thomas and Justice [Neil] Gorsuch,” Pitt wrote in his letter to then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “In sum, it’s my opinion that the qualities I feel you think that are most vital in a federal judge are similar to I hold to. Based upon that belief, I can recommend Chad Meredith without reservation.”
Here’s a duplicate of the 2018 letter, which HuffPost obtained via an open records request.
McConnell aide Terry Carmack responded to Pitt on the time by saying he has “great respect for Chad,” in response to an email included within the released records. Meredith was vetted for the position, but then-President Donald Trump selected one other conservative lawyer to fill it as an alternative.
The comparisons between Meredith and Justices Thomas and Scalia are more likely to intensify calls on Biden to desert his plans to nominate him. Not only would such a pick run counter to Biden’s much-touted record of asserting diverse and progressive judicial nominees, nevertheless it would come on the heels of the Supreme Court gutting Roe v. Wade, a call that breaks from 50 years of precedent and strips away the constitutional right to an abortion.
The ruling has devastated and infuriated Democrats, who are actually scrambling to try to guard reproductive rights nationwide. Biden’s apparent decision to nominate Meredith, meanwhile, has raised questions on why a president who has insisted he would “do all in my power to guard” abortion rights would hand a lifetime judicial appointment to an ardent opponent of them.
The White House initially notified Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear that he planned to nominate Meredith on June 23, the Courier-Journal reported, citing emails from a White House official to Beshear’s office.
“To be nominated tomorrow: … Stephen Chad Meredith: candidate for the USA District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky,” the e-mail from White House aide Kathleen M. Marshall said.
But the following day, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and the nomination didn’t occur.
A White House spokesperson on Wednesday didn’t reply to a request for comment on whether Biden continues to be planning to nominate Meredith.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, meanwhile, tried to have it each ways when asked about Meredith, declining to comment on the issues together with his potential nomination while boasting in regards to the rapid pace and variety of Biden’s other nominees.
“I’m just not ― we just don’t comment on ― on vacancies, whether executive branch or judicial, in situations where we have now not made a nomination. We just haven’t made a nomination on this yet,” Jean-Pierre said Wednesday on Air Force One en path to Ohio.
“I do wish to add and reiterate that the president is proud that we’ve confirmed more federal judges than throughout the last three presidents, presidencies, on the equivalent time of their administrations,” she said. “That features so many history-making firsts to assist our judiciary represent the range of America, including [a] groundbreaking recent Supreme Court justice. And that’s something that we’re going to proceed to do, and we won’t stop there.”
“The president is making a cope with the devil and once more, the people of Kentucky are crushed in the method.”
– Former Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker
Meredith actually matches 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.
During his time as Bevin’s deputy counsel, Meredith defended a 2017 Kentucky law that forced abortion patients to undergo an ultrasound ― and doctors to indicate the patient a picture and play audio of a heartbeat ― before they may have the procedure. He lost that case in a U.S. District Court, however the U.S. Court of Appeals for the sixth Circuit upheld the law in 2020. The 2 judges on the three-judge panel who voted to uphold the Kentucky law are Federalist Society members and were appointed to that court by Trump.
In 2019, Meredith and Pitt also defended Bevin’s decision to deny a license to Planned Parenthood that may have allowed it to perform abortions in Kentucky. The organization received the license only after Beshear defeated Bevin later that yr.
Biden’s decision to nominate Meredith can have been a part of a cope with McConnell to hurry other Biden nominees through a deadlocked Senate, especially ahead of midterm elections that would cost Democrats control of the chamber. However it has drawn outrage from Kentucky Democrats and national reproductive rights organizations, who’ve questioned whether any deal could be adequate at hand a lifetime appointment to a conservative like Meredith.
Beshear, citing Meredith’s role in a series of controversial pardons Bevin issued before he left office, called the potential nomination “indefensible” during a news conference last week.
Rep. John Yarmuth, the one Kentucky Democrat in Congress, said he “strongly” opposed the pick, and he told the Courier-Journal “the final thing we want is one other extremist on the bench.”
“The president is making a cope with the devil and once more, the people of Kentucky are crushed in the method,” former Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker, the Democratic nominee on this yr’s U.S. Senate race, tweeted after the Courier-Journal’s initial report.
The National Women’s Law Center, NARAL, Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups called on Biden this week to drop Meredith from consideration.
“Chad Meredith shouldn’t be nominated to a lifetime judgeship,” the groups told the Courier-Journal. “That is unacceptable at any time, but especially on the heels of six Supreme Court justices taking away a fundamental right from tens of millions of individuals.”