Evie Fordham, DCNF
South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott said Thursday afternoon that he will oppose the nomination of Trump judicial nominee Thomas Farr, killing Farr’s chances of making it onto the bench, The News Tribune reported.
Scott’s vote was the deciding factor on whether Farr would make it through, and the senator had been publicly mulling his decision since Monday, according to The News Tribune.
“We are not doing a very good job of avoiding the obvious potholes on race in America and we ought to be more sensitive when it comes to those issues,” Scott told reporters Wednesday, according to McClatchy DC. “There are a lot of folks that can be judges, in states including North Carolina, besides Tom Farr.”
Defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams of Georgia and Andrew Gillum of Florida voiced their opposition Tuesday to Farr for what they called a “disregard for fundamental civil rights.”
The 64-year-old lawyer was nominated to preside over the Eastern District of North Carolina by President Donald Trump in July 2017 and could fill the longest judicial vacancy in the country, reported NBC News.
Forty-nine Democrats plus Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake had said they would vote against Farr. Flake announced Nov. 14 that he won’t vote to advance or confirm any judicial nominees until the Senate protects special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Abrams and Gillum say Farr is not qualified for the judgeship because of his work on cases involving congressional and legislative boundaries and voter ID laws.
The Supreme Court decided some of the boundaries approved by the North Carolina legislature in 2011 were racially gerrymandered, according to NBC News.
A voter ID law Farr defended was “enacted … with discriminatory intent,” found a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, according to Frontline.
North Carolina Republican Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis have continued to support Farr. They pointed out Farr was nominated to the same position by former President George W. Bush in 2006 and 2007 although he never made it to a committee hearing, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. Farr also has a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, according to NBC News.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Farr from the chamber floor Monday.
“This is a man who stands for disenfranchisement of voters, particularly minority voters, that is what he stands for. You can try to parse it any way you want, but that is what he has done. That is not America,” Schumer said.
Farr served as legal counsel during former Sen. Jesse Helms’s 1990 Senate campaign, when the Helms campaign sent out mailers that the Justice Department said were designed to intimidate black voters from showing up to the polls, according to NBC News.
Farr has distanced himself from the mailers and said he played no role in their design or dissemination.
“I was appalled to read the incorrect language printed on the card and to then discover it had been sent to African Americans,” Farr said, according to NBC News.
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