Commentary

Opposition to Thomas Farr nomination continues to spread cross the country

Donald Trump’s nomination of veteran civil rights opponent Thomas Farr to serve a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in North Carolina’s Eastern District continues to draw more and more opponents from across the country. On Friday of last week, the head of the NAACP of Ohio, Tom Roberts, was actually moved to single the Farr nomination out in a scathing editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Here’s the conclusion from “Judge picks setback for civil rights“:

“Among the worst of Trump’s nominees are Stuart Kyle Duncan, Wendy Vitter and Thomas Farr. Farr stands out with the worst record on civil rights. Nominated to the Eastern District of North Carolina where many African-Americans reside, Farr is a throw-back to the segregationist era we thought was long behind us. Farr learned how to battle civil rights from his mentor, North Carolina’s notorious segregationist Senator Jesse Helms. As Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge told us last week: “Jesse Helms taught him everything he knows and he has made him proud.”

Farr aligned himself with white supremacists in the truest sense. He had ties to the Pioneer Fund, one of the nation’s oldest hate groups founded in 1937 to study “racial betterment.” The Pioneer Fund sponsored research into theories that African-Americans were genetically inferior to whites. Its political connections ran straight through Jesse Helms and his vast enterprise that thrived on racial division.

Farr played a role in the some of the country’s most racist political campaigns including Jesse Helms’ bid for Senate in 1984, cited by a federal court as an example of how racism continued to flourish in North Carolina politics. Farr engaged in voter intimidation during Helms’ 1990 campaign against Harvey Gantt, the first African-American mayor of Charlotte. Gantt was gaining ground, so Farr and the Helms’ team plotted to intimidate African-Americans from voting by postcards, warning they could face prison time for voting. This was so egregious that the Republican-led Justice Department charged them with Voting Rights Act violations.

Farr’s efforts to disenfranchise African-American voters continued to the present. He helped to craft and then defends North Carolina’s “monster voter suppression law,” which a federal appellate court ruled was intentionally discriminatory and targeted African-Americans with “almost surgical precision.”

Dr. King famously stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This applies to the federal courts, too. This is why people in Ohio care about a judgeship in North Carolina. We cannot allow a white supremacist to assume the bench anywhere. It threatens our justice system everywhere.

On the King anniversary, Rob Portman urged us “to recommit ourselves to doing our part to help all Americans achieve their God-given potential.” Sen. Portman, we agree. We need you and Sen. Brown to stand on the right side of civil rights history when it comes to voting on the Farr nomination. If you admire Dr. King and everything he stood for, you will reject Thomas Farr.”

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