Posted November 30, 2018, 9:45 am CST
A federal judicial nominee who defended North Carolina’s voter ID law appears unlikely to win confirmation after Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said he would vote against him.
The State was first with the news about Scott’s decision on Thomas Farr, who was nominated for the Eastern District of North Carolina. “Scott’s decision comes after four days of intense drama and speculation about what the Senate’s only black Republican would do,” the newspaper reported. Also reporting on Scott’s decision are BuzzFeed News, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the National Law Journal, McClatchy Washington Bureau and the Washington Post. How Appealing links to additional coverage.
Scott said in a statement that he made his decision after the Washington Post obtained a Department of Justice memo written during the presidency of George H.W. Bush that outlined Farr’s involvement in voter suppression measures in two campaigns of then-Sen. Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican.
The memo said Farr had coordinated a 1984 “ballot security” program for Helms. One part of the program consisted of postcards sent to voters in predominantly black precincts, with the intent of using returned postcards to prove people were voting in the wrong precincts, according to BuzzFeed News.
The memo also said Farr was involved in early discussions about ballot security measures during the 1990 Helms campaign. Farr said at the meeting that there was no need to send postcards because returned cards could no longer be used to challenge voters, the Washington Post reported. That same year, the Helms campaign sent postcards warning primarily black voters of penalties for election fraud, including the possibility of jail. Farr has said he didn’t know about the postcards in advance.
The DOJ had sued the 1990 Helms campaign over the postcards, resulting in a settlement.
Farr was unsuccessful in his 2013 defense of the North Carolina voter ID law. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Richmond, Virginia, struck down the law in July 2016, saying it targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona also planned to oppose Farr. He has vowed to oppose all judicial nominees until a vote is taken on a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. But he also told the Washington Post he would vote no on Farr in any event.
Farr is a partner with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was previously nominated to the same seat by President George W. Bush. The ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave Farr a well-qualified rating, with one abstention.
Be Sociable, Share!