Administration

Groups launch ad telling Biden to say ‘hell no’ to anti-abortion judicial picks

A pair of progressive groups on Tuesday announced a new ad campaign targeting the White House over its consideration of nominating an anti-abortion judge to the federal bench, a move that has caused an uproar in the wake of the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade.

Demand Justice, a group focused on Supreme Court reform, and UltraViolet, which focuses on gender equality, launched a digital ad campaign urging Biden to abandon any deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would see Biden nominate Chad Meredith to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.

The ad, which was obtained first by The Hill, features a green banner that reads: “Hell no Joe! No deals with McConnell on anti-abortion judges.”

“It is hard to think of a more out of touch response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade than cutting a deal with Mitch McConnell to appoint an anti-choice warrior to the federal bench,” Shaunna Thomas, executive director of UltraViolet, said in a statement.

The ad campaign underscores the frustration from some Democrats over Biden’s response to the Supreme Court ruling more than two weeks ago striking down the nearly 50-year-old Roe decision.

It comes roughly a week after it was reported that the White House informed Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) of its intent to nominate Meredith, a conservative lawyer who has represented anti-abortion causes, to a lifetime seat in the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, warned that nominating Meredith would undercut the successes Biden has had in getting his nominees appointed to the federal bench.

The White House on Tuesday announced another round of judicial nominees. Meredith’s name did not appear among the nominees. White House officials did not respond to questions about whether that meant his nomination was off the table.

A June 23 email between the White House and Beshear’s office, which was first reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal, showed the administration informed the governor it planned to nominate Meredith the next day.

On June 24, the Supreme Court released its decision upholding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban and striking down Roe v. Wade, eliminating the decades-long constitutional right to abortion and handing states authority to drastically limit or ban the procedure.

The White House later sent Beshear’s office an email indicating the original Meredith information was “pre-decisional and privileged.”

The Courier Journal reported that Meredith’s would-be nomination was part of a deal between Biden and McConnell to facilitate future Biden nominees.

Meredith’s nomination was never officially announced or sent to the Senate, and it’s unclear whether the White House intends to move forward with it at this point.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has been asked multiple times about Meredith at briefings in the past week and has on each occasion declined to comment, saying the administration would not speak to vacancies on the federal bench.

Still, the episode drew anger from activists and some Democrats at a time when they were already pressing Biden and his team to do more to respond to the Supreme Court decision on Roe.

Biden last week signed an executive order directing various agencies to review potential steps to ensure access to contraception and strengthen privacy protections for women seeking reproductive health services.

Updated at 5:34 p.m.

Tags abortion Andy Beshear Biden nominees Brian Fallon Joe Biden Mitch McConnell Roe v. Wade

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