The decision to withdraw Chad Meredith’s nomination came amid a split between McConnell and the Republican Sen. Edge Paulhis compatriot from Kentucky, on the selection.
The White House noted Paul’s resistance to giving up the nomination.
“In reviewing potential circuit court nominees, the White House has learned that Senator Rand Paul Chad Meredith will not be returning a ‘blue slip,'” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “That’s why the White House becomes Mr. Meredith.”
A Paul spokeswoman did not immediately respond to messages asking for comment Friday night.
President Joe Biden had intended to nominate Meredith to serve as a judge on the District Court of Eastern Kentucky. The plan, first revealed by the Courier Journal of Louisville, had suffered for several weeks. The potential nomination has met opposition from Democrats from Kentucky to Washington.
McConnell, a key player in placing conservatives on the Federal bench during Donald Trump’s presidency, told the New York Times that the White House intends to honor its commitment to Meredith’s nomination until Paul objects.
Meredith, a prominent Kentucky conservative, defended the state’s anti-abortion laws in court. He also successfully defended a state law that stripped Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear of his emergency power to implement COVID-19 restrictions.
Meredith was previously Chief Deputy General Counsel to former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. Meredith then worked for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who appointed him the first Commonwealth Attorney General in 2019. He left government to join a law firm. Meredith’s father, Stephen Meredith, is a Kentucky Senator.
The decision to drop the Meredith nomination had repercussions in Kentucky. Scott Jennings, a Kentuckian and former adviser to President George W. Bush, called it a “sad day” and said it “can’t justify what happened to him.”
“Chad is a great person and just the kind of young, conservative judge you want on the bench,” said Jennings, who has close ties to McConnell. “He could have been there for four decades. It is a miracle that McConnell persuaded Biden to do this and a tragedy that Senator Paul quashed the nomination.”
Abortion advocates welcomed the development.
In a statement, Mini Timmaraju, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said: “We are pleased that the Biden administration has made this decision — it is the right decision. With abortion rights and accessibility at stake in Kentucky and across the country, it is imperative that all judges defend and uphold our fundamental rights and freedoms, including reproductive freedom.”
Schreiner reported from Louisville, Kentucky.