Democratic members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation sent a letter this week to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging the cancellation of all votes on the judicial nomination of prominent GOP attorney Thomas Farr.
President Donald Trump nominated Farr, who has ties to white supremacist Jesse Helms, to a U.S. District Court seat for the Eastern District of North Carolina. It is a lifetime appointment if he is confirmed.
The letter to McConnell was signed by U.S. Representatives David E. Price (NC-04), G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), and Alma Adams (NC-12). It states their concern for Farr’s record of voter suppression and points out the widespread opposition to his nomination.
“Mr. Farr’s confirmation will threaten the participation of African-Americans and other vulnerable populations in our political process,” the letter states.
Trump nominated Farr in July 2017 and then re-nominated him in January. The judicial vacancy he could fill is the longest running one across the nation at over 11 years.
Civil rights leaders have been outspoken in their opposition to Farr’s confirmation, particularly to the Eastern District of North Carolina, which houses almost half of the state’s Black population, but has never had a Black federal judge there in the District Court’s 145-year history.
Price, Butterfield and Adams want the Senate to allow Farr’s nomination to expire.
“Farr has a decades-long record of defending voter suppression tactics in North Carolina, including voter intimidation, discriminatory election changes, and racial gerrymandering,” a news release states. “In 1992, as the lawyer for former Senator Jesse Helms’ re-election campaign, he defended the campaign against U.S. Department of Justice complaints of voter intimidation after the campaign sent post cards to 100,000 black voters saying they were ineligible to vote and may be arrested for voting.”
If the Senate does proceed to a vote, Republicans only need one defector to defeat Farr’s nomination. Sen. Jeff Flake from Arizona said he would not be voting to confirm any more judicial nominees until his colleagues vote on a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Read the full letter to McConnell below.