Washington, D.C.—People For the American Way (PFAW) decried today’s vote in the Senate to advance the nomination of Thomas Farr for a lifetime federal judgeship in North Carolina. The Senate voted 51 to 50 on cloture for this nomination with Vice President Mike Pence voting to break the tie, setting the stage for a final confirmation vote as early as tomorrow.
“Thomas Farr would be a Trump judge in every sense of the word,” PFAW Executive Vice President Marge Baker said. “Rather than a judge to whom the people—all people—could look for justice, Farr would be a judge for the bosses and the bigots. By voting to advance this nomination, Senate Republicans showed again that no bar is too low if it results in the installation of one of their trusted political operatives on the federal bench.”
Earlier today, PFAW’s African American Ministers In Action program released an open letter to members of the Senate, urging them to oppose the nomination. The letter read in part:
“We reject this nomination out of concerns for his past association with Jesse Helms, his attacks on voting rights and workers’ rights, his record on employment discrimination against African Americans and other vulnerable populations, and the absence of fair-mindedness needed for this seat.
“We are frankly appalled that someone with his record could become a federal judge in 21st century America. President Trump sent an unmistakable message to us and other people of color by nominating Farr, a message we ask you to reject.”
More than 120 African American faith leaders signed the AAMIA letter. PFAW had previously sent letters to members of the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate urging opposition to Farr’s nomination. As the letters explain, Farr is a well-known figure who takes pride in siding with corporations against workers and in undermining the right of African Americans to vote—including by participating in meetings as part of Jesse Helms’ campaign to intimidate African Americans from going to the polls.
“No African American has ever been a judge in this district, and Farr’s nomination adds insult to injury on this account by installing a partisan whose name is synonymous with vote suppression and intimidation of African Americans in his home state,” Baker added. “The Senate should reject Farr’s nomination when they take the final vote this week and demand nominees who are not narrow-minded elitists.”