President Joe Biden has vowed to do everything possible to fight for reproductive health care after the fall of Roe v. Wade, and even called on Thursday for a filibuster carve-out to protect abortion and other privacy rights. But a reported deal with minority Senate leader Mitch McConnell appointing a conservative, anti-choice attorney to a federal court in Kentucky could add to doubts about the government’s understanding of the seriousness of the situation — and its commitment to addressing it.
According to the Louisville Courier JournalBiden plans to call Chad Meredith — a member of the Federalist Society who served as deputy counsel to the former Republican governor Matt Bevins — to a life tenure in federal court as part of a deal with McConnell to get other White House nominees approved by the Senate. The White House did not comment on the reported agreement and said it is not talking publicly about pending nominations or job openings. But Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth said Wednesday the government had notified him of the upcoming move, which condemned the Louisville congressman. “I strongly oppose this deal and Meredith being nominated for the position,” Yarmuth said in a statement to the… Courier-Journal† “The last thing we need is another extremist on the bench.”
“If the president makes that nomination, it’s indefensible,” Kentucky governor said Andy Besheara democrat, told the outlet and expressed the hope that the appointment had at least been put “on hold”.
The deal’s report came as Democratic lawmakers and voters called for stronger action to protect Americans’ reproductive rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s conservative decision. roe and enforcing Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, a move Biden described as the “realization of an extreme ideology” and a “tragic mistake” by the right-wing judges.
“It just amazes me,” Biden said in a speech following that 6-3 ruling. “This is a sad day for the country in my opinion, but it doesn’t mean the battle is over.”
However, that struggle is uphill. For years, Democrats have not shown the same urgency in protecting abortion rights as Republicans have tried to take away from them. Now, with states imposing draconian procedural bans in the wake of the dobbs decision, the national Democrats have limited options. The Biden administration is working on a series of executive and agency actions to protect access to abortion medications and contraception and to help people in states where the procedure is banned travel to other states for health care. On Thursday, Biden went even further, calling for an amendment to the filibuster to allow for the adoption of legislation supporting privacy rights, including reproductive health care. (That came after a report published Wednesday by Reuters that said “the White House is unlikely to take the bold steps to protect women’s right to abortion that Democratic lawmakers have been calling for in recent days,” citing anonymous White House officials. A White House spokesman disputed the report.)
“We need to codify Roe v. Wade into law,” Biden said. “If the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights. We have to make an exception for that.”
But, as with voting rights, such a lockout is unlikely to happen at this point: Conservative Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema staunchly oppose doing anything they say would weaken Senate proceedings, and are unlikely to budge. democrats could take that step if they win seats in the November midterms; as senator Elizabeth Warren and others have notedthey may only need to increase their majority by two to bypass Manchin, Sinema and the Republicans.