U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is not backing down from his opposition to the nomination of Thomas Farr to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, according to a McClatchy report.
Farr, who has been widely criticized and opposed for his ties to white supremacy, was nominated twice last year to a lifetime appointment for the nation’s longest-standing judicial vacancy. He never got a vote after Republicans broke ranks over concerns about his ties to voter suppression — Scott’s refusal to support him was what sank the nomination.
The Senate’s only Black Republican met with Farr on Wednesday, but said his fears were not alleviated. The meeting was convened as a courtesy to North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, who has long been supporting the GOP attorney.
McClatchy reporter Emma Dumain writes about what happened:
The meeting coincided with a letter that 31 conservative leaders, activists, elected officials and attorneys sent to Scott Tuesday in Farr’s defense. In the three-page memo, they urged Scott to reconsider his position, arguing a smear campaign was launched by “unprincipled left-wing activists who hate Tom” and suggesting Scott was complicit in the partisan attack.
“In these difficult days, when allegations of racism are carelessly, and all too often deliberately, thrown about without foundation, the result is not racial healing, but greater racial polarization,” they wrote. “Joining with those who taunt every political opponent a ‘racist’ as a partisan political tactic to destroy their reputations is not helpful to the cause of reconciliation.”
Scott fired back.
“For some reason the authors of this letter choose to ignore … facts, and instead implicate that I have been co-opted by the left and am incapable of my own decision making,” Scott said in a statement to McClatchy, adding he votes for Republican judicial nominees “99 percent of the time.”
“Why they have chosen to expend so much energy on this particular nomination I do not know, but what I do know is they have not spent anywhere near as much time on true racial reconciliation efforts, decrying comments by those like (Republican U.S. Rep.) Steve King, or working to move our party together towards a stronger, more unified future,” Scott continued, referring to the Iowa congressman who recently suggested he was sympathetic to white supremacists in a New York Times interview.
President Donald Trump has not yet re-nominated Farr, but McClatchy reports the White House has not ruled that out.
Numerous people signed the letter encouraging Scott to support Farr, including his predecessor, former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C, according to the McClatchy report.
Other signers included former Attorney General Edwin Meese, the presidents of major conservative activist groups, an assistant attorney general for civil rights in the administration of President George W. Bush and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas.
Those signing also included heavyweights in North Carolina Republican politics: N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, N.C. Republican Party chairman Robin Hayes and former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer, who described himself as a “friend of Tom Farr since 1981.”
Read the full report here, which contains a copy of the letter sent to Scott.