Why All 49 Senate Democrats Oppose The Nomination Of Thomas Farr

November 26, 2018

FARR SERVED AS THE LAWYER FOR THE 1984 AND 1990 REELECTION CAMPAIGNS OF JESSE HELMS, A FORMER NORTH CAROLINA SENATOR WHOSE TENURE AND CAMPAIGNS WERE PUNCTUATED BY UNAPOLOGETICALLY RACIST ACTS.

“In 1990, Farr was the lawyer defending longtime segregationist Helms in a lawsuit over 125,000 postcards Helms’s campaign sent to predominantly African-American communities, falsely stating that they could be arrested for voter fraud at their polling stations. Ultimately the case was resolved by consent decree, which Farr signed. And though Farr later denied knowing about it, he was identified in a Justice Department memo as being present at the meeting when it was first discussed.” [Daily Beast, 11/19/18]

Washington Post (Broder): Jesse Helms, White Racist. “What really sets Jesse Helms apart is that he is the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country -- a title that one hopes will now be permanently retired.” [Washington Post, 8/29/01]

FARR DEFENDED THE NC REPUBLICAN VOTER SUPPRESSION LAW THAT TARGETED “AFRICAN AMERICANS WITH ALMOST SURGICAL PRECISION.”

“Farr also helped defend a 2013 law that required photo identification to vote, reduced the number of early voting days and eliminated same-day registration during that period. North Carolina Republicans said that requiring voter ID would increase the integrity of elections. But the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state provided no evidence of the kind of in-person voter fraud the ID mandate would address. The Richmond, Virginia-based court said the law targeted black voters ‘with almost surgical precision.’ Farr told lawmakers that, as an advocate, he vehemently disagreed with the argument that the North Carolina Legislature sought to curtail the voting rights of people of color or any other voter. But, said, ‘I am obligated to follow the decision by the 4th Circuit and pledge that I will do so.’” [AP, 11/22/18]

FARR DEFENDED A NC REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE MAP IN WHICH RACE WAS THE PREDOMINANT CRITERION IN DRAWING ALL OF THE CHALLENGED DISTRICTS.

“GOP leaders in charge of the North Carolina Legislature hired Farr and others at his firm to defend congressional and legislative boundaries that the Legislature approved in 2011. A federal court eventually struck some boundaries down as racial gerrymanders and the Supreme Court affirmed that decision.” [AP, 11/22/18]

Covington v. the State of North Carolina. “[T]here is copious statewide evidence that race-based criteria predominated—and that race-neutral criteria were subordinated—in the creation of the Chairs’ 50%-plus-one purported VRA districts.” [Covington v. the State of North Carolina, 8/11/16]

REPUBLICANS BLOCKED OBAMA NOMINEES TO SERVE AS A FEDERAL JUDGE IN THIS DISTRICT. NOW THEY WANT TO CONFIRM FARR DESPITE HIS HISTORY OF WORKING AGAINST VOTING RIGHTS.

“President Barack Obama nominated two African-American women to serve on the court, but neither was granted a hearing and their nominations stalled. If confirmed, they would have been the first blacks to serve in that particular district, which is about 27 percent black.” [AP, 11/22/18]

ALL 49 SENATE DEMOCRATS HAVE ANNOUNCED THEIR OPPOSITION TO FARR’S NOMINATION BECAUSE IT IS CLEAR THAT HE IS A RADICAL THREAT TO AMERICANS’ VOTING RIGHTS.

Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “RED ALERT: I'm announcing my strong opposition to Thomas Farr as a federal judge in North Carolina. @SenateGOP has set up a vote on his nomination after Thanksgiving. Farr is a serious threat to voting rights. Americans need to tell Senate Republicans to block this nomination. Farr defended the Republican-controlled North Carolina Legislature in a challenge to the restrictive voting laws it enacted shortly after the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roberts, gutted the Voting Rights Act. After gathering data on the use of certain voting practices broken down by race, the North Carolina Legislature drafted a law that targeted voting practices like early voting and same-day registration that were disproportionately utilized by African-American voters. In addition to reducing early-voting days & eliminating same-day registration and preregistration of teenage voters, the North Carolina Legislature also implemented strict voter ID laws requiring voters to show certain photo IDs which African-Americans disproportionately lacked. In a lawsuit brought by several groups challenging the law, Farr defended North Carolina and argued that the voter ID provision in particular was not problematic. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Farr’s arguments finding instead that North Carolina’s laws work to ‘target African-Americans with almost surgical precision’ and ‘impose cures for problems that did not exist.’ Every American should be alarmed by the attempt to confirm a nominee with Farr’s egregious record on voting rights, particularly with the Republican agenda to maintain power by limiting access to the ballot now on full display.” [Official Twitter, 11/16/18]

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