Gillum and Abrams Call on U.S. Senators to Oppose Trump's Nomination of Thomas Farr

Jordan Kirkland - November 27th, 2018

Senate Republicans are working hard to fill the nation's longest judicial vacancy with a North Carolina lawyer whose nomination has raised objections from black lawmakers and civil rights groups concerned about his work defending state laws found to have discriminated against African-Americans.

President Trump nominated Thomas Farr to fill the vacancy, and the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Farr's confirmation with a party-line vote back in January.

10 months later, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is ready to hold a vote on the floor.

Democrats, however, are pushing back, claiming that Farr is hostile to the rights of minorities.

Farr has come under fire from Senate Democrats for his defense of a North Carolina voter ID law that an appeals court struck down for targeting African-American voters, and for his role as lawyer for former Republican Sen. Jesse Helms’ reelection campaign in 1990. Helms opposed the Civil Rights Act as a senator.

 

Leading the fight against Farr, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the choice is a no-brainer, calling Farr “unquestionably one of the worst” nominees he’d seen in the Senate.

 

“It’s hard to believe President Trump nominated him, it’s even harder to believe Senate Republicans are considering him again,” Schumer said. “This is a man who stands for disenfranchisement of voters, particularly minority voters. That is what he stands for. You can try to parse it any way you want but that is what he has done.”

 

At a committee meeting, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), described Farr as "probably the worst of the litter" when it comes to Trump's judicial nominees.

 

At the same committee hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), said: "Could this administration have picked an individual who is more hostile to the rights of minorities than this man? It is hard to imagine."

 

On Tuesday, Democratic candidates Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams also showed their support for blocking Trump's latest nomination, releasing a joint statement regarding Farr.

 

“When it comes to the trifecta of voter disenfranchisement  -- voter suppression, racial gerrymandering, and restriction of voting rights -- Thomas Farr is, sadly, one of the most experienced election lawyers in the country. Superior courts have ruled against him in case after case, citing the surgical precision with which the policies he champions have targeted voters of color, especially African-Americans.

“Thomas Farr’s record of hostility and disregard for fundamental civil rights disqualifies him for a lifetime appointment that will allow him to codify his discriminatory ideology into law. North Carolina’s Eastern District -- where most of the state’s African Americans live -- should be represented by a Bench that respects its diversity, not one that actively works to disenfranchise them.

“We call on all U.S. Senators who revere our democracy -- who put that democracy above party loyalty -- to reject this nomination and deny Thomas Farr the platform to continue his crusade against voting rights.”

 

With so many prominent Democrats opposing Farr, Republicans face an uphill battle.

 

Republican aides, however, said they still believed that Farr could be confirmed, but acknowledged that the weight of the arguments being made by opponents could make it more difficult later this week. They also said that with Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) entrenched opposition, every GOP senator — including a handful of Republicans up for reelection in 2020 — now becomes the potential deciding vote for Farr.


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