US Senate: Is Making 'Moral Poison' Dude A Federal Judge A Bridge Too Farr?
The US Senate voted this afternoon to advance the nomination of Thomas Farr to be a federal judge for the Eastern District in North Carolina, even though Farr has a sterling record of suppressing African-American votes. And in a completely unsurprising bit of trivia, that judicial district is home to some of the state's highest concentrations of black voters. What a coincidence!
The good news is that with Democrats unified in opposition to Farr and Jeff Flake pledging not to vote for any judicial nominees unless the Mueller investigation is protected from the whims of the "president," Democrats only needed just one Republican to break ranks and stop the guy.
The bad news is that Democrats had to find one Republican willing to break ranks, in a party that insists keeping black people from voting is good.
As we noted the other day, Farr's history on voting rights is absolutely putrid. He got his start in politics defending old racist hate-sow Jesse Helms on federal charges (back when the Justice Department prosecuted voting rights cases), in a case where Helms had sent out over 100,000 mailers falsely threatening black voters with arrest for fraud if they made minor errors when voting. Farr signed on to a consent decree in which the Helms campaign promised to never do bad things again, and has insisted forever that he knew nothing about the mailers. During his confirmation hearing in January, however, Farr admitted he'd attended a meeting about "ballot security" -- but golly, no, he says he never suggested any measures to keep blacks from voting, and was shocked, shocked to learn the actual contents of those mailers.
More recently, Farr wrote North Carolina's sleazy 2013 voter-suppression law, which was ultimately struck down in federal court in 2016 because, as the judge in that case said, its restrictions on voting "target African Americans with almost surgical precision." Farr also defended the law in that case, although he strongly disagreed there was anything intentionally racist about eliminating voting provisions that happened to affect black voters more than anyone else. It was all a big coincidence!
Everything about this nomination reeks. Republicans have kept the judicial seat vacant for 12 years, at first because Dubya never nominated anyone, and later because North Carolina's Republican US Senators blocked hearings for the two black jurists nominated to the court by Barack Obama. Farr's nomination has been opposed by the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, and a whole crowd of nationally known black politicians including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Andrew Gillum, and Stacey Abrams.
And let's not forget that the Rev. William Barber condemned the Farr nomination as "a moral poison."
For much of the time we were typing this, the vote on cloture stood at 50 against (all the Dems plus Flake) and 49 to move forward with an eventual final vote. Lisa Murkowski's office said she "does not intend to block his nomination," but that as far as a final vote goes, she's "still asking questions." Susan Collins believed Farr's insistence he had nothing to do with the Helms scam, and likes Farr's ABA rating of "well qualified."
The only senator who hadn't voted was South Carolina's Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, who repeatedly refused to say how he would vote. Eventually, Scott voted for cloture and Mike Pence broke the 50-50 tie. Now we'll have another day or so wondering how the final vote will go -- will Scott or Murkowski pull a last-minute John McCain and vote "no" against this asshole?
Earlier this year, Scott's opposition to racist shithead Ryan Bounds killed that nomination, and Farr has been far worse for black Americans. Bounds's writings in college were racist, while Farr has actively kept black people from exercising their right to vote.
In addition to Jeff Flake's promise to block judicial nominees, Lindsey Graham made his own Very Serious pledge within an hour or so of his vote to move Farr's nomination forward:
Will Graham remember that supposed pledge -- already ignored once -- before the final vote? Aw, hell, that would require some integrity, now wouldn't it? We'd like to hope Lisa Murkowski, Tim Scott, Lindsey For Fuckssakes Graham, or some other Republican might grow a dick before a final confirmation vote. But hahaha, Lucy, no way are we running at THAT football.
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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.