Courts & the Law, News

Trump taps local GOP attorney to fill long-time federal judicial vacancy in eastern NC

Thomas Farr

President Donald Trump announced today that he plans to nominate local GOP attorney Thomas Farr to fill the nation’s longest running federal judicial vacancy, located in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The federal judgeship has been vacant for over 11 years and long been referred to as a judicial emergency. Former President Barack Obama nominated two different women to fill the vacancy and N.C. Sen. Richard Burr blocked both nominations.

Here’s Trump’s announcement about Farr:

“If confirmed, Thomas Alvin Farr of North Carolina, will serve as a District Judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Tom Farr is currently a shareholder in the Raleigh office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., where his practice focuses on employment matters and constitutional law. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Farr was an attorney with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and counsel to the U.S. Senate and Labor Human Resources Committee. Mr. Farr also served as a law clerk to Judge Frank W. Bullock, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. He received his B.L.S., summa cum laude, from Hillsdale College, where he was co-salutatorian. He received his J.D. from Emory University and an L.L.M. in labor law from Georgetown University.”

Farr was nominated to fill the same vacant seat in 2006 by President George W. Bush but never got a vote from the Senate.

A Raleigh based attorney, Farr frequently represents the state’s Republican party in voting rights cases. He has been lead counsel for the GOP in redistricting cases and in the voter identification law challenge.

Obama had nominated both Jennifer May-Parker, the Chief of the Appellate Division at the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Patricia Timmons-Goodson, a former state Supreme Court justice and vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. If either had gotten the judgeship, they would have been the first federal judges of color in North Carolina history for years.

Check Also

Center for American Progress highlights effects of NC judicial changes on judges of color

Lawmakers are hellbent on changing the judiciary one ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

The controversy over “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, has been ra [...]

North Carolina tries to mine its swine and deal with a poop problem that keeps piling up A blanket o [...]

This story is part of "Peak Pig," an examination of the hog industry co-published with Env [...]

Few issues in the North Carolina’s contentious policy wars have been more consistently front and cen [...]

Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a jaw-dropping civil rights lawsuit again [...]

Will Burr and Tillis really vote for this? For much of the 20th Century, one of the labels that Amer [...]

President Trump and Congressional Republicans aim to rebrand enormous tax cuts for the wealthiest ho [...]

20—number of years since a bipartisan coalition in Congress passed the Children’s Health Insurance P [...]

Spotlight on Journalism

We invite you to join a special celebration of investigative journalism! The evening will feature Mike Rezendes, a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe Spotlight Team known for their coverage of the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Tickets available NOW!

Spotlight On Journalism

This event will benefit NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. Sponsorship opportunities available now!

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more