In a sharp rebuke to President Trump and the right-wing’s racist agenda, Republican Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has just announced his opposition for the confirmation of Thomas Farr to the federal bench, effectively killing the nomination for the man behind one of North Carolina’s worst voter disenfranchisement laws.
Thomas Alvin Farr was looking forward to sailing through a Republican-strangled Senate to take a lifetime appointment on the Eastern District of North Carolina, but between Sen. Jeff Flake’s refusal to confirm any judges before his bill on protecting Special Counsel Mueller gets a vote and Scott’s refusal to empower an undemocratic vote disenfranchiser, Farr’s nomination is dead on arrival.
The discovery of a 1991 Department of Justice memo by the Washington Post turned out to be the deciding factor for Scott. The memo illuminates Farr’s role in coordinating the “ballot security” measures on behalf of white supremacist Jesse Helms’s campaign in the 1984 election, which most prominently featured mailing postcards to black voters who may have changed addresses and threatening them with harsh penalties for voter fraud in an attempt to intimidate them into staying home.
How precise was Thomas Farr's voter suppression schemes in NC in targeting Black voters? In mixed-race households, the Black spouses received the intimidating Jesse Helms campaign postcards but the white spouses did not. #StopFarr pic.twitter.com/knB0j9dqcV
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) November 29, 2018
That was only the tip of the iceberg that is Farr’s career-long crusade against black voters, the most egregious example of which was his voracious support for what the courts called “the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow.”
That 2013 voter ID law, which was ostensibly meant to combat the non-existent problem of voter fraud, made huge cuts to early voting, created a photo ID requirement and eliminated same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting and preregistration of high school students. It has since been struck down as unconstitutional by an appeals court.
While McConnell and his cronies might bring up Farr for another run in the future — we wouldn’t put anything past him at this point — this egregious enemy of democracy has been blocked from being able to legislate from the bench for the foreseeable future thanks to Tim Scott’s brave stand. But he never should have been brought up in the first place, which is a damning indictment on the Republican Party and all it stands for.