Crazy Idea: How About We DON'T Put 'Moral Poison' Thomas Farr On Federal Court?
Mitch McConnell is using the lame duck session of the Senate to push through yet another crop of rightwing federal judiciary nominees picked for Donald Trump by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. This latest group includes yet another dipshit the American Bar Association has designated as "not qualified" -- the sixth Trump nominee to get that lowest-possible rating ... so far. Also among the nominees is Thomas Alvin Farr, whom Trump picked for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Although the ABA rates him as "well-qualified," there are one or two minor issues with Farr's record that have led every single Democrat in the Senate to oppose his confirmation, like the fact that the NAACP has called Farr North Carolina's "vote-suppressor in chief." Oh dear, he IS a nasty piece of work.
For starters, Farr represented the late Sen. Jesse Helms in a 1990 voting-rights lawsuit accusing Helms of sending more than 100,000 postcards to African-American voters, falsely claiming they were subject to immediate arrest if they voted. The Justice Department and the Helms campaign ultimately settled with a consent decree, which allowed the campaign to escape admitting to wrongdoing. Farr claimed during his confirmation hearings in January that he didn't know anything about the postcard scam, although a DOJ official's notes indicated that Farr had indeed attended a meeting about it. Farr contends he only attended a meeting about "ballot security," and that he was "appalled" by the "incorrect language" threatening voters that eventually went out on the cards, which of course he knew nothing about, heck no.
Much more recently, Farr was the primary author of North Carolina's horrible 2013 vote-suppression law, which aimed to crack down on "voter fraud" by making sure black people wouldn't vote. In 2016, a federal court struck down that law, holding that its provisions "target African Americans with almost surgical precision" -- and then, in 2017, the Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal. And who defended that bad law written by Thomas Farr before the circuit court? Duh -- Thomas Farr! He called the landmark decision "ludicrous" and rejected the court's finding that the voting law targeted blacks. But he very generously admitted, "I am obligated to follow the decision by the 4th Circuit and pledge that I will do so."
When the Senate Judiciary Committee considered Farr in January of this year, the Reverend William Barber called the nomination "a moral poison."
Farr has been the lead attorney in a series of recent legislative efforts to suppress political participation by African Americans in the state. In 2010, Farr advised the General Assembly in what federal courts later termed a "racial gerrymander" of North Carolina House, Senate and U.S. Congressional districts. In separate lawsuits, each of these redistricting plans was determined to have discriminated against African-American voters.
And now, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and North Carolina's two US Senators, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, would very much like Farr to preside in a federal judicial district which Barber notes "contains a majority of the state's counties with the highest percentages of African–American residents." That seems awfully brazen, even for this crowd. It's also worth noting that Burr and Tillis have blocked the nominations of two judges appointed to the Eastern District by Barack Obama. Both those nominees, Jennifer Prescod May-Parker, and Patricia Timmons-Goodson, are black women. Probably a complete coincidence their nominations never went anywhere.
With all 49 Democrats opposed and Jeff Flake refusing to vote for any judicial nominees unless the Senate votes to protect the Mueller probe, a single Republican can bring an end to the Farr nomination. This might be a good time for Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, or Ben Sasse to show they actually think voting rights are worth a damn. Hell, maybe Dean Heller would like to leave the Senate with a nice Fuck-You to Trump -- we'll take a spite vote, sure.
Get to the phones and let your senators know this nominee is garbage.
Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday: Send us money now and avoid the rush!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.