President Joe Biden struck a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to appoint an anti-abortion judge to a federal court in Kentucky, HuffPost reports.
Under the deal, Biden would nominate a McConnell ally and in return the Republican leader would stop obstructing the president’s federal appointments.
The move comes as Democrats are running out of time to fill federal court vacancies before the next Senate term — which could tip the balance of power to Republicans.
The Senate left for an extended July 4 break and many senators will have to campaign for re-election after the recess before a lame-duck session following the midterm elections.
There are no vacancies on Kentucky’s federal courts but under the deal Biden would appoint Chad Meredith when a judge retires or steps down.
Meredith is a Federalist Society member and longtime defender of anti-abortion laws.
Meredith worked for former Gov. Matt Bevin and defended a 2017 Kentucky law that required doctors to perform ultrasounds and describe the images to patients before providing an abortion.
He also defended the administration’s effort to shutter the state’s last remaining abortion clinic.
Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth said he “strongly” opposes the move.
“Given that a judicial position isn’t currently open on the Eastern District Court, it’s clear that this is part of some larger deal on judicial nominations between the president and Mitch McConnell,” Yarmuth told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I strongly oppose this deal and Meredith being nominated for the position. The last thing we need is another extremist on the bench.”