Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul Get Into a Rumble

The 2 Kentuckians butt heads over anti-abortion lawyer's judicial nomination getting pulled
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 19, 2022 12:31 AM CDT
Updated Jul 19, 2022 6:18 AM CDT
Paul, McConnell in Tiff Over Judicial Nomination Mess
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Ky., left, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. appear on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Jan. 11, 2017.   (AP Photo/Zach Gibson, File)

Sen. Rand Paul on Monday accused Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of cutting “a secret deal with the White House that fell apart,” blaming a lack of communication by his fellow Kentuckian for the failure of a federal judicial nomination, the AP reports. Further exposing long-simmering tensions between the state's two Republican senators, Paul commented on his own role in sinking the nomination last week of anti-abortion lawyer Chad Meredith for a federal judgeship in Kentucky. The White House abruptly abandoned the nomination on Friday, pointing to the home-state resistance from Paul, who is seeking a third term in the US Senate in this year's elections.

McConnell, a key player in putting conservatives on the federal bench during former President Trump’s term, told the New York Times last week that the White House intended to follow through on its commitment to nominate Meredith until Paul objected. McConnell told the newspaper that Paul's position was “just utterly pointless.” Paul responded Monday that he supports Meredith and thought the conservative lawyer would make a good judge, but pointed to the process as the problem. "Unfortunately, instead of communicating and lining up support for him, Senator McConnell chose to cut a secret deal with the White House that fell apart,” Paul said in a statement. McConnell has insisted there was no deal over a Meredith nomination, pointing instead to his longstanding personal relationship with President Biden.

Biden had intended to nominate Meredith for a district court judgeship in eastern Kentucky. The plan, first revealed by the Courier Journal of Louisville, had languished for weeks. The potential nomination drew resistance from Democrats from Kentucky to Washington. Meredith, a well-known conservative in Kentucky, defended the state’s anti-abortion laws in court. He also successfully defended a state law that stripped Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear of his emergency power to implement COVID-19 restrictions. Abortion-rights supporters applauded the collapse of Meredith's nomination. Meanwhile, the rift over the Meredith nomination's collapse is the latest flare-up between McConnell and Paul, who represent different wings of the GOP. McConnell's office has not yet responded to Paul's statement. (More Rand Paul stories.)

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