Emails show White House intended to nominate anti-abortion judicial candidate on day of SCOTUS ruling

Emails between the White House and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) office show that President Biden intended to nominate an anti-abortion candidate for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on June 24 — the same day the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision. 

The nomination of Chad Meredith to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky didn’t happen.

At shortly after 10 a.m. the morning of June 24, the Supreme Court ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade decision was released. While stunning it its importance, the ruling wasn’t a surprise: A draft ruling had already been leaked weeks earlier indicating the court’s intention to reverse the 1973 decision.

Since a June 23 email indicating Biden’s intention to nominate Meredith was first obtained and reported by the Louisville Courier Journal, the White House has come under criticism for considering him.

Meredith has previously worked on cases fighting back against COVID-19 public health measures and restricting abortion access, including representing former Gov. Matt Bevin (R) in a case in which Planned Parenthood alleged it had not been given a license to perform abortions in the state, thereby violating the law, according to the Courier Journal.

The Hill obtained copies of the June 23 email and a subsequent June 29 email through an open records request to Beshear’s office. 

In the email sent the afternoon of June 23, White House aide Kathleen Marshall informed Coulter Minix, the director of Beshear’s office in Washington, D.C., that Meredith would be nominated the next day. 

The June 23 email is written in the style of a memo.

“To be Nominated tomorrow:”, it states. “8. Stephen Chad Meredith: Candidate for the United States District Court for the Eastern.”

The second email on June 29, also from Marshall to Minix, says the content in the first email was “pre-decisional and privileged.”

Pre-decisional suggests a final decision on Meredith’s nomination had not been made.

“Coulter – Sorry for not including this in the original e-mail but I wanted to clarify that the e-mail I sent was pre-decisional and privileged information. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you. Kate.” 

“Thanks, Kate,” Minix responded in an email after 4 p.m. “I’ll share the info and appreciate the heads up.”

The Courier Journal first reported the June 29 email on Tuesday.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) told the Courier Journal last week that he believed the decision to nominate Meredith was a White House effort to clear other nominations. He said “it’s clear that this is part of some larger deal on judicial nominations between the president and Mitch McConnell.”

The White House on Tuesday fielded questions about whether it ever intended to nominate Meredith, as the June 23 email suggested.

“So we don’t — we — we make it a point here to not comment on any — on any vacancy, whether it is on the executive branch or judicial branch, especially those that have not — have not — the nomination has not been made yet.  So I don’t have anything to say on that. It is something that we just don’t comment on,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

She declined to answer a question on whether Biden would ever select a judicial nominee who doesn’t support abortion rights, calling it a hypothetical.

Tags Andy Beshear Joe Biden John Yarmuth
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