Sen. Rand Paul blames McConnell for 'tank' deal with Biden over federal anti-abortion judge nominee

WASHINGTON — Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by the collapse of a deal with President Joe Biden to nominate a conservative, anti-abortion lawyer as a federal judge in Kentucky.

Paul accused McConnell to lack the “courtesy” to include it in Biden’s efforts to nominate Chad Meredith fill a vacancy on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. As a result, Paul said that he did not return Meredith’s “blue paper” to the White House, which killed nomination plans.

“McConnell is to blame for screwing this up because he secretly tried to do it.” Paul told Politico on Monday.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Monday that GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not give him the courtesy of contacting him about the planned nomination of a conservative attorney for a federal judgeship in Kentucky.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Monday that GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not give him the courtesy of contacting him about the planned nomination of a conservative attorney for a federal judgeship in Kentucky.

Paul’s comments exposed a rift between the two Republican US Senators from Kentucky that scuttled a rare chance to get a Democratic president to nominate a conservative lawyer for a lifetime judicial appointment.

“I support Chad Meredith and I supported him when he was considered for a different position. I think he would make a good judge,” Paul said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, instead of reaching out and building support for him, Senator McConnell chose to make a secret deal with the White House that fell through.”

Plus: Biden abandons plan to nominate Republican federal anti-abortion judge McConnell pushed for

Traditionally, home state senators return what is known as a “blue slip” to indicate support for federal district judge candidates. Republicans abandoned the “blue paper” practice for appellate court judges during the Trump administration, but kept it for district court judges. Democrats have maintained the same practice.

The White House cited Paul’s failure to return the blue slip to Meredith on Friday in announcing that Biden would not formally nominate Meredith for the job.

As first reported exclusively by The Courier JournalA White House official informed Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s office in a June 23 email that he planned to nominate Meredith the next day for a U.S. District Court judge seat in the District of Columbia. Eastern Kentucky.

However, the next morning, the US Supreme Court issued its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion and shocking the entire country. Meredith’s intended nomination was never announced or submitted.

Plus: EXCLUSIVE: Email Shows Biden Was Set To Nominate A Republican Anti-Abortion Judge On The Day Of The Supreme Court’s Roe Ruling

Biden’s planned nomination drew a backlash from Democrats and progressives furious that Biden would pick a member of the Federalist Society who has opposed abortion access.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., expressed outrage with the election, saying Biden should have made a deal with McConnell not to delay future White House nominations.

McConnell told the New York Times there was “no agreement” with Biden to trade Meredith’s nomination for other considerations in the chamber, calling the president’s willingness to nominate his favorite conservative justice the kind of “partnership” they used to show senators.

“This was a gesture of personal friendship,” McConnell added.

McConnell also said he was “very surprised” that Paul voiced his opposition to Meredith’s nomination.

Several Senate Democrats said last week they would vote against Meredith’s nomination, raising the chances that the president’s own party will block the election if it goes ahead.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said nothing Monday when asked why Biden planned to nominate Meredith in the first place. She reiterated Paul’s opposition and said she was unaware of McConnell’s claim that the nomination was a “gesture of personal friendship” by Biden.

Contact Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rand Paul blames McConnell for ‘defeating’ Biden deal for judge

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