The fate of President Trump’s divisive judicial nominee hung in the balance Tuesday as a Republican senator remained undecided on whether to confirm Thomas Farr, who previously worked to defend North Carolina voting laws ruled to have been discriminatory against African Americans.
Senate Democrats have been particularly critical of Farr, an attorney in Raleigh who backed a law that the courts called “the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow.” All 49 Democrats oppose the nomination.
Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams, two black candidates who fell short in high-profile gubernatorial races this month, criticized the nomination in a new statement Tuesday, underscoring the national fight over Farr’s nomination to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
“Thomas Farr’s record of hostility and disregard for fundamental civil rights disqualifies him for a lifetime appointment that will allow him to codify his discriminatory ideology into law,” Gillum and Abrams said in a joint statement. “North Carolina’s Eastern District — where most of the state’s African Americans live — should be represented by a Bench that represents its diversity, not one that actively works to disenfranchise them.”
Senate Republican leaders have been publicly confident that they will have the votes to confirm Farr, although they will almost certainly need to summon Vice President Pence to break a 50-50 tie.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has vowed to oppose all judicial nominations until the chamber votes on legislation that he is seeking that would protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that he had made no decision on the nomination.
Farr worked on the 1990 campaign of Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), which came under scrutiny for distributing postcards that the Justice Department later said were sent to intimidate black voters from heading to the polls.