While many progressives harshly criticized President Joe Biden for working with the GOP to install a conservative judge to a federal court in Kentucky, the deal has also pitted the state’s two Republican senators against each other.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) lashed out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) this week for failing to discuss the plan with him before pursuing a “secret deal” with Democratic lawmakers and the White House.
Although Paul stressed that he believes the nominee, Chad Meredith, would have made a good judge, the senator nonetheless torpedoed the nomination because of the way McConnell handled the situation.
When asked about the latest development, Paul told reporters that he had been completely in the dark regarding the deal until an FBI agent contacted him regarding a background check for the nominee.
“This was McConnell doing a secret deal behind the scenes to get something he wanted, without any consultation,” the Kentucky Republican asserted.
Paul went on to assert that the GOP leader “thought it was beneath himself” to discuss the matter with him, insisting that it was McConnell who “sabotaged this by doing it in secret.”
Although the Biden administration cited Paul’s objections as the reason that Meredith’s nomination fell through, it was clear that many Democrats were incensed that the president would agree to nominate a pro-life judge and were prepared to vote against him.
“I'm not pleased with that,” said Sen. Jacky Rosen of Biden’s plan to nom anti-abortion Meredith. “I think that we will not support, absolutely won't support the judge, anyone who comes forward and says that they are clearly against a woman's right to choose her own health care.”
— Dylan Wells (@dylanewells) July 11, 2022
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) confirmed that he was “going to vote no,” acknowledging that Biden has the right to nominate whomever he pleases.
“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,” Schatz said.
Mini Timmaraju, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that it was “the right call” to abandon the nomination, adding: “With abortion rights and access on the line in Kentucky and across the country, it is absolutely essential that all judges defend and uphold our fundamental rights and freedoms, including reproductive freedom.”
According to one prominent Kentucky Republican and McConnell ally, however, it was a “tragedy” that Paul sunk the conservative judge’s nomination.
“Chad is a terrific human being and exactly the kind of young, conservative judge you’d want on the bench,” proclaimed Scott Jennings, who served as an adviser to former President George W. Bush. “He could’ve been there for four decades.”