In a dramatic floor vote, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaker, the U.S. Senate voted today to invoke “cloture” on the debate regarding the nomination of Thomas Farr to serve as a federal judge in North Carolina’s Eastern District. This means that the nomination can proceed to a final vote, at which point Farr is expected to be confirmed. Today’s vote was stuck at 49 in favor and 50 against until Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, a Black Republican, emerged to cast a 50th vote in favor of cloture and the nomination — thus empowering Vice President Pence to break the tie.
The victory for Farr and the Trump administration came in spite of fierce opposition from the civil rights community and dozens of progressive organizations who slammed Farr for his long history of abetting voter suppression efforts and the racist campaign tactics of former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. Senators Tillis and Burr voted “yes.”
In response to today’s vote, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement:
Advancing Farr’s nomination is a disgrace and senators who support him should be ashamed. Farr’s history of restricting voting rights, defending employment discrimination, and backing white supremacists disqualify him from a lifetime seat on the federal bench. Yet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues his attack on civil and human rights by ushering in another Trump loyalist, seeking to further undermine the impartiality of our federal courts. The fact that Vice President Pence had to break a tie indicates the extreme measures to which McConnell must go to push this controversial nominee forward.
This is a battle for the soul of our nation. Our senators must place country over party and protect civil and human rights for all by rejecting Farr’s nomination.
Click here to read the letter the Leadership Conference sent to the Senate in opposition to Farr’s nomination.
This is a developing story.