Background: Trump has nominated Thomas Farr to be a judge for federal district court in North Carolina. The nomination had passed the Judiciary Committee and was pending a final vote in the Senate, when it was “declined” before the holiday break in December and sent back to the White House. It is up to the White House and this nominee whether to start the nomination process over in 2018.
This change in Farr’s nomination status occurred two weeks after Indivisible East Bay sent out its digital toolkit against Farr to all our contact groups in the various states, urging people to call their senators against this nomination. Other major groups, like the AFL-CIO and NAACP, also lobbied against this nomination. Working together, we believe the opposition had an effect.
Farr’s “claim to fame” is his long legal career against the rights of African-American voters. He has argued in support of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering and an illegal voter ID law which the court said targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision.” His record is also consistently anti-worker. Farr has been described as the go-to lawyer for anti-voting rights or anti-worker policies in his home state–the same state for which Trump nominated him to be a judge.
Recently Farr’s nomination came under more scrutiny thanks to Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). Senator Booker has called for the release of a U.S. Dept of Justice memo that may show Farr misled the Senate Judiciary Committee about his role in voter suppression efforts in the 1992 reelection campaign for Senator Jesse Helms. Farr was legal counsel for that campaign and claims no prior knowledge of the attempts at voter suppression.
Script (Democratic Senators):
Hi, my name is [name] and I’m a constituent calling from [zip code]. I’m calling to urge you to join Senator Cory Booker in demanding the release of the U.S. Dept of Justice memo regarding a plan by the Jesse Helms campaign to intimidate African American voters. Before the Senate votes on Farr’s nomination to a lifetime judgeship, we need to know whether he misled the Senate Judiciary Committee when he said he had no prior knowledge about this scheme.
Script (Republican Senators):
Hi, my name is [name], and I’m a constituent calling from [zip code]. I’m calling to urge you to vote NO on the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal district court. Farr has spent his career working to disenfranchise voters of color through unconstitutional gerrymandering and illegal voter suppression efforts. His repeated attacks on voting rights make him unfit to serve as a federal judge. Please vote NO on the Farr nomination.
Additional talking points for office visits here.
To find your senators, see https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members.
- Alliance for Justice–Farr report
- Vetting Room–Farr report
- Huffington Post–Cory Booker request to U.S. Dept of Justice
- Congressional Black Caucus Opposition Letter
- “One of Trump’s most controversial judicial nominees gets sent back to the start line,” Vox.com
- “Trump’s Terrible Choice for Judge,” NY Times op-ed
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