As expected, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Thomas Farr to be a federal judge in North Carolina’s Eastern District today along with several other extreme Trump nominees. In response, the national and North Carolina civil rights communities have issued a series of scathing responses. Here are just a few:
“On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Republicans in Congress flock to social media to post their favorite Dr. King quotes out of context and reflect on his legacy of equality and justice. At the same time, they refuse to act on the core values of civil rights, often working actively to undermine the principles that King (and their tweets) espoused including voting rights, workers and union rights, anti-poverty measures and more.
Which brings us to Thomas Farr, Trump’s nominee for a federal court in North Carolina.
No one with a record of racially targeted voter intimidation and suppression should be nominated to the federal bench—but that is what we see with Thomas Farr. As if that’s not enough, he potentially lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his involvement in one of the most notorious voter suppression campaigns during Jesse Helms’ 1990 run for Senate in North Carolina.”
From the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund:
“On Monday, Senators on both sides of the aisle celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. and his tireless work to advance the cause of racial justice in the United States. Days later, however, when faced with an opportunity to honor Dr. King’s legacy with more than mere lip service, Republicans in the Senate Judiciary Committee instead voted to advance the nominations of three federal court judges – Thomas Farr, Mark Norris, David Stras – and Eric Dreiband as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Each nominee has a clear and unequivocal history of hostility to civil rights. They are part of a coterie of anti-civil rights nominees the Trump Administration has nominated for federal appointments. We must conclude that this is a deliberate and shameful plan to degrade our judiciary and destroy the norms that have governed the appointment of federal judicial nominees. The Senate’s Constitutional obligation to advise and consent on nominations is one of our last safeguards, and the Senate must do better than today’s deeply disappointing Judiciary Committee vote. Now the ball falls in the court of the full Senate. We call on the full Senate to stand up for the American people.”
From Democracy North Carolina:
“We are deeply upset and disappointed that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced Thomas Farr’s nomination to a lifetime judicial appointment in eastern North Carolina.
We must ensure that the courts protect voting rights for African Americans and every North Carolinian, but Mr. Farr’s long track record has tangibly damaged our democracy through voting restrictions and racial gerrymandering. His track record should be disqualifying….
Thomas Farr has devoted much of his four-decade legal career to restricting the voting rights of Black North Carolinians. Farr is famous for defending GOP mailers aimed at intimidating Black voters during Jesse Helms’ 1992 campaign. He is currently the chief attorney for the NC GOP’s effort to disenfranchise voters of color, students, and the poor.
Farr’s nomination is especially insulting because it’s for the long-vacant seat that was denied to two highly-qualified African-American female nominees who Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) blocked from receiving a hearing.”
From the Alliance for Justice:
“Even as GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee continue to rubber-stamp Trump’s nominations, Democrats – including the newest members, Sens. Booker and Harris – are fighting back hard against extreme and unqualified nominees. It’s a real sign that the frustration of last year’s confirmation process is galvanizing opposition to Trump’s court-packing. And clearly, the records of many of these nominees are deeply troubling, including those of Kyle Duncan, David Stras, Matthew Kacsmaryk, Mark Norris and Thomas Farr. Serious unanswered questions remain about Farr’s possible participation in a racist voter-suppression scheme, and that point was raised very emphatically today by Sens. Booker and Harris. Disturbingly, a written request by Sens. Booker and Harris to have the opportunity to question Farr in person was rejected outright by Chairman Grassley; we believe he should show fellow senators greater respect in the future.”