Another Miracle On 11/29/18: Confirmation For Thomas Farr To Be Federal Judge Is Blocked

The Republican Party, Senator Tim Scott told reporters, is “not doing a very good job of avoiding the obvious potholes on race in America.”CreditCreditErin Schaff for The New York Times By Catie Edmondson

Thanks to republican Senators Tim Scott of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona, the US Senate does not have enough votes to confirm the likes Thomas Farr to become a federal judge in Eastern District of North Carolina.

Thomas Farr has been a major force in the blocking of Black voters having access to the ballot box in North Carolina. This is a good day, in that he will not be confirmed to be a federal judge.

Sen. Jeff Flake in November 2018. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Here’s the rest of the story…

On November 29, 2018, Emma Dumain and Brian Murphy of the McClatchy DC penned the following report, “Scott to oppose Farr nomination to federal bench in NC, ending chances of confirmation”

Excerpts:

“Sen. Tim Scott said Thursday (11/29/18) he will oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal bench, assuring the controversial pick will not be confirmed.”

“The South Carolina Republican was the deciding vote in determining whether Farr, accused of efforts to disenfranchise black voters, would become a U.S. District Court judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The seat has been open since Jan. 1, 2006.”

Tim Scott and Thomas Farr
Tim Scott and Thomas Farr /Getty Images AP

“Scott’s decision comes after four days of intense drama and speculation about what the Senate’s only black Republican would do.”

“Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, made it clear earlier in the day he, too, would oppose Farr’s nomination. Senate Republicans could only afford to lose one vote and still confirm Farr. Senate Republicans control 51 seats, and all 49 Democratic caucus members announced they would oppose Farr.”

“In a brief statement explaining his decision, Scott cited a 1991 Department of Justice memo obtained by The Washington Post this week, just days before the Senate was set to vote on Farr’s confirmation. It detailed Farr’s involvement in “ballot security” activities by the 1984 and 1990 campaigns of then-Sen. Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina.”

Jeff Flake
GOP leaders are assessing GOP support for the special counsel bill to evaluate its level of support in hopes of appeasing Sen. Jeff Flake. | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

“Farr worked for the campaign in 1984 and represented the 1990 campaign as a lawyer.”

“Helms’ 1990 re-election campaign against former Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt, who is black, included charges of voter intimidation for postcards mailed to primarily black voters warning of possible arrest at the polls. The Department of Justice investigated the voter intimidation claims and settled with the Helms campaign in a consent decree.”

“I am ready and willing to support strong candidates for our judicial vacancies that do not have lingering concerns about issues that could affect their decision-making process as a federal judge,” Scott said in his statement. “This week, a Department of Justice memo written under President George H.W. Bush was released that shed new light on Mr. Farr’s activities. This, in turn, created more concerns. Weighing these important factors, this afternoon I concluded that I could not support Mr. Farr’s nomination.”

Image result for IMAGES GEESE HELMS TIM SCOTT
TIM SCOTT/ PRESIDENT TRUMP

“The 1991 memo said that “Farr was the primary coordinator of the 1984 ‘ballot security’ program conducted by the NCGOP and 1984 Helms for Senate Committee. He coordinated several ‘ballot security’ activities in 1984, including a postcard mailing to voters in predominantly black precincts which was designed to serve as a basis to challenge voters on election day.”

“Farr told attendees at a 1990 meeting that the need for “ballot security” measures, such as postcards, “was not as compelling as in 1984, since, unlike in 1984, the state had a Republican governor.”

“In 1990, the Helms campaign sent postcards to black voters who may have changed addresses warning of “voter eligibility and the penalties for election fraud.” Farr said he did not know about the decision to send the postcards, and the memo does not state that he did.”

Image result for IMAGES JESSE HELMS
JESSE HELMS/ THOMAS FARR

“Scott spent the past days studying this memo and speaking directly to the document’s author. He spoke to the author Wednesday for at least part of a nearly 45-minute period as his colleagues voted on limiting debate on Farr’s nomination. Scott agreed to the limit.”

“On Thursday (11/29/18), just 30 minutes before Farr’s confirmation vote was set to take place on the Senate floor, Scott invited several colleagues to his office to discuss the memo and hear from the author, via conference call, once again.”

Image result for images marco rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, told McClatchy as he headed to that meeting he was still inclined to vote for Farr but as a practice always discussed nominees with Scott, especially when race has been a factor.

“Was (Farr) a lawyer representing a client, telling them what they were legally allowed to do, or was he a political consultant determining strategy and targeting? I don’t know the answer to that. It was a long time ago,” Rubio explained. “But I think that’s kind of what we’re  focused in on.”

Image result for images susan collins
SUSAN COLLINS

Image result for IMAGES Rep. G.K. Butterfield

“Americans deserve not only a fair judiciary, but a judiciary that is perceived to be fair,”” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice and North Carolina Democrat whose district is largely in the Eastern District. “It’s not just sufficient to be a good judge, but you’ve got to be perceived to be a fair judge.”

Said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, in a statement: ““Senator Tim Scott has done a courageous thing, and he’s done the right thing. Thomas Farr has been involved in the sordid practice of voter suppression for decades and never should have been nominated, let alone confirmed to the bench. Thankfully, he won’t be.”

Image result for IMAGES Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr

“Farr’s supporters, including North Carolina Republican Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, have pointed to his “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. Tillis said Democrats engaged in a “Kavanaugh-esque attempt to discredit him,” referencing the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who faced allegations of decades-old sexual assault claims during his confirmation hearing.”

“On Wednesday (11/28/18), Scott was signaling an openness to vote for Farr, but told reporters on Capitol Hill he was bothered that his party was “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.”

4 comments

    • Dear Keith,

      I did not hold out much hope that Mr. Farr would not be confirmed. Your NC Senators Burr and Tillis were pushing for his confirmation. But miracles do happen and this was one of them. He did not deserve this honor.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

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