In his first year in office, Donald Trump has been appointing judges at a rapid pace. He is currently ranked 6th in presidents appointing the highest number of federal judges in the first year. With 23 nominations already confirmed, there are 43 pending nominations. And that’s scary because the majority of his nominees are white, male, and problematic. For instance, the Senate is planning to vote on whether or not to advance Thomas Farr–a Trump nominee to a lifetime position to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Upon closer examination of Farr’s record as a lawyer in North Carolina, it is clear that Farr is ill-equipped to be fair and impartial – a crucial aspect of the job – making him wholly unfit for any appointment. In fact, his record makes him “the poster child of voter suppression.”
Farr served as Jesse Helms’s legal counsel on the 1984 and 1990 Senate campaigns. Jesse Helms was a senator from North Carolina notorious for his unabashed racism. Farr was closely involved in efforts to suppress the Black vote by sending intimidating postcards warning African American voters to not vote. Farr was also hired by the North Carolina legislature in 2011 to defend its redistricting maps for Congress and the legislature. The plans that he defended were struck down by the Supreme Court and the District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The Supreme Court found two congressional districts, and the District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina found 28 legislative districts to be racially gerrymandered. In 2016, North Carolina’s legislature hired Farr to defend a restrictive photo voter ID law, which the Fourth Circuit Court decided targeted African American voters “with almost surgical precision.”
Farr’s record displays a litany of evidence suggesting he does not believe in “equality before the law.” Yesterday, at a rally organized by Demand Justice, Senator Kamala Harris (CA), Senator Cory Booker (NJ), and Derrick Johnson, the President of the NAACP, voiced their dissent. Sen. Booker invoked James Baldwin, reminding us that each judicial appointment matters: “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.”
Clearly, Farr has no place in our judicial system. His anti-voting rights and anti-democratic record disqualifies him from having a lifetime appointment that would undo so much of the progress made by the civil rights movement. Nominating judicial candidates like Farr is what Senator Harris called a “slow radicalization of the bench” on both the local and federal levels, effectively sowing the seeds of injustice for generations to come. It’s critical that we oppose Farr’s nomination to safeguard the promise of equality before the law.
To ensure that Farr never sees the bench, call and urge your Senators to vote NO on his confirmation hearing today.